Spare Our Pitches, Kill Our People: IPL 2016


The Indian Premier League is round the corner, but controversies have surrounded the extravaganza already.

According to news reports, the Bombay High Court has reprimanded the Indian cricket board BCCI, for scheduling matches in the drought-hit Maharashtra. The board had proposed the use of 60 lakh litres of water on the pitches of Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, for the 20 matches that have been scheduled here. The court had initially condemned this, but said the public interest litigation had been filed too late to cancel the first match on April 9, between Mumbai Indians and Rising Pune Supergiants.

The state of Maharashtra is facing acute water shortage. There has been an alarming decrease in the water table. The court, while citing this, had suggested the matches be shifted to other states. According to a Times of India report, river Godavari’s Ramkund ghat in Nashik has dried up already, after 139 years. The apex court has been grilling the Centre for not doing enough to provide relief to those affected by drought.


Farmers in Maharashtra and other states have committed suicide on their parched lands and here we are resuscitating our dying pitches. When did we start considering a game more important than human lives? How can we spend so much water on cricket pitches? We need to wake up and realise the fact that drought is a persisting problem in our country that needs immediate attention. People have to walk miles to access potable water; some get water only two times a week and store it for daily consumption.

How can we draw a parallel between dying pitches and dying farmers? What is the BBCI thinking?

While defending its move, board secretary Anurag Thakur had said, “I think we need to look at the overall situation. If stopping the IPL matches is going to help, we need to debate on that, and we can look at various aspects. But I think it isn’t easy to shift the matches at the last minute. What we have faced during the India-Pakistan game in the World T20 has brought a bad name to India. Shifting matches at the last minute does not help anyone. You suffer losses not only financially, but a loss of face as well”.

Seriously, Mr Thakur? The BCCI cares about its image so much that it is not willing to accept the fact that lives are at stake here? That people are living on barren and pallid lands for years now. They are dying, their families are dying, and all you are thinking about is the money involved in the ridiculously-wasteful matches?

Come on, now. IPL is all about the glam. It is like the item song of cricket. This may sting you, but most of us feel this way. And we rather boycott the format than watch it at the expense of human lives.

Honestly, you people of BCCI, get down your high-horse. You do not have a dearth of money and a little financial loss will not harm you. But if another farmer commits suicide, it will be a huge loss for the country.

We want our farmers. We want you to save lives, not pitches.

Prerna Mittra

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