Indian Premier/Paani League

In the backdrop of the ongoing water crisis, specifically in rural Maharashtra, Premier & Paani seem to be conflated into a new polemical and debatable issue. Prima facie, the hyperbolic advent of the 9th edition of the IPL is in deep contrast with the current drought-hit state. Nevertheless, we have been a country of contrasts, where sombreness and cheerfulness reside concomitantly, in every aspect of the mankind and its development.

To hardly anyone's surprise, a recent ruling by the Bombay High Court clearly orders shifting of the 13 matches outside the state, that are scheduled post 30 April. Also, the 2 judge bench questioned the attitude of the state government, which allegedly turned a blind eye to the acute water crisis.

Here arise few pertinent questions. Had the state not been informed about the 'would-be' shortage of the blue? If yes, then had it taken any cognisance of the anticipated situation of the drought? Well to answer these tough ones, Mr Yogendra Yadav(Swaraj Abhiyan) puts out that he conducted a traversal to multiple villages, and had warned the state government & administration about the danger of the possible drought. But as usual, the state remained stoic, may be because stoicism is commonly treated as a virtue among the political circles.

In its defence, the BCCI counsel stated that the sewage-treated water is being used for the purpose of fulfilling some common needs of the game. Also, in one of the sharp counters given by the officials, Mr Anurag Thakur asked whether the pools in the hotel would be emptied. Veteran Cricket pioneer, Sunil Gavaskar too came strongly to support the game, claiming IPL as a soft target.

So, is the BCCI on the right side? Are its arguements valid? The answers could be too hard to be presented as a boolean value[Yes/No form], but few facts and explanations could decide the leaning side of the balance.

Albeit the moral crisis arising out of the contrasting conflation of the Premier & Paani, the solution needs much more appropriation. Shifting of matches, after an equanimous analysis, seems more of a symbolistic solution. As the hearing bench mentioned,"The shifting of the matches is not the complete solution, but just a step forward towards drawing the attentions to the drought situation prevailing in the state."

For a better and long term aid, the first step is to have a deep insight into the reports of the Central Water Commission, one of which recently held that 91 major water resservoirs have gone to alarmingly low levels. The report further marks the southern region as the worst hit, with only 15% of the total live storage capacity in its 31 reservoirs. Not only this, but many other nation-wide surveys also claim some of the Gujarat villages' similar conditions, as currently prevailing in Maharashtra.

Symbolistic solutions are good to start with, but they alone wont serve the purpose. In-lieu, what is required to prevent or combat such mishappenings is a strong policy-based intervention. Only an efficient policy of storing the rainwater, managing the groundwater-level and harnessing the water resources would tantamount to effective confrontation to such unwanted crisis.

And not to forget, Maharashtra is not the only state, and IPL not the only cause.


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