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India vs New Zealand 2017: Delhi T20I mired in uncertainty as pollution cloud looms large

Ram Kumar
4.26K   //    29 Oct 2017, 14:51 IST

Virat Kohli
India are slated to play their maiden T20I at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi

What's the story?

Sharply increasing pollution levels in Delhi have placed the upcoming first T20I between India and New Zealand at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium under a cloud of uncertainty. Despite the request put forth by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) remains strong in their stance of not granting any exception to the ban on the use of diesel generator sets in the city.

In response to BCCI's appeal, EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal wrote, "Unfortunately it will not be possible for us to agree to such a request as the ban on diesel generator sets is critical in view of the very poor and severe conditions that are prevalent in Delhi for air pollution. We have in our last minutes made it clear that we allow for generator sets to be there as back-up but we would not like them to be used because we expect that power is available and therefore there is no need to use generator sets."

Not in any mood to cave in, a BCCI spokesperson asserted, "We have been told by EPCA that the Delhi power authority has informed them there is no shortage of electricity in the capital. Now, the onus is on DISCOMS to provide us uninterrupted power supply. Most of our associations use generators since that’s the only way we are sure that there wouldn’t be a sudden break in power."

In case you didn't know...

In order to tackle the stifling pollution in India's capital city, EPCA had issued a ban on the use of diesel generator sets from October 17 to March 15 of next year. The prohibition was part of the organisation's Graded Response Action Plan aimed at curbing the uncomfortable level of pollution in Delhi.

The heart of the matter

In spite of EPCA's ruling, there is a clause allowing for the use of diesel generator sets in exceptional circumstances. However, in order to gain exception to the rule, special permission has to be obtained from the relevant authorities. In such regard, BCCI had requested the Supreme Court to permit the use of diesel generator sets to provide back-up for the utilisation of floodlights at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium.

An official at the Delhi & District Cricket Association (DDCA) has insisted that diesel generators remain the only feasible option to ensure uninterrupted power coverage at the venue. Wary of the hefty financial loss likely to be incurred in the event of a cancelled match, BCCI are in talks with DISCOMS to try and procure non-stop power supply right throughout the game.

What's next?

Even though as many as four T20Is have taken place at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, India have never participated in any of them. They are slated to make their maiden appearance in the shortest format of the game at the iconic venue on November 1.

Author's take

Considering that the city's constricting pollution level has been a subject of intense discussion for quite some time, it does not make sense for BCCI to schedule an international cricket match in Delhi during this period. With the Ranji Trophy also taking place concurrently, it might not be possible to find an alternative venue in case the opening T20I is moved out of the capital city due to the uncertainty in securing uninterrupted power supply.

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Ram Kumar
Someone who views sport as a metaphor for life.
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