BCCI asks Maharashtra to choose between "water or revenue"

Mumbai: Under pressure from various quarters to shift Indian Premier League (IPL) matches out of Maharashtra, a top Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official virtually asked the state government to choose between water or money here on Saturday. BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur said shifting IPL matches out of the state could result in a loss of Rs.1 billion to the state exchequer. "Maharashtra will get Rs.100 crore from the IPL. If the matches are shifted out it will be a loss," Thakur informed mediapersons here, adding that the figures are based on a BCCI study done last year. He was replying to questions posed over a statement by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Friday that he did not care if the IPL moves out of Maharashtra as water for the people was of utmost priority. "We don't care if the IPL is shifted from Maharashtra this year. No potable (drinking) water will be provided for IPL," Fadnavis had asserted on Friday, even as criticism mounted over the huge quantity of water wasted for maintaining cricket pitches. Adopting a conciliatory tone, Thakur suggested that the income accrued from the IPL could be diverted to tackle drought and help thirsty people in the affected districts. He said the BCCI could also consider adopting drought-hit villages, as earlier suggested by another BCCI official Rajiv Shukla, and assured that the board would not use potable water for pitch maintenance. This year, the BCCI plans to hold around 20 IPL matches in Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, all cities on the verge of water shortage. Last week, the Bombay High Court had suggested shifting IPL matches out of Maharashtra in view of the severe water crisis afflicting many parts of the state. While it permitted the inaugural IPL match on Saturday in Mumbai, for the remaining matches the court posted a PIL hearing on April 12.