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Prime Minister Narendra Modi questions the move to shift IPL matches out of drought-affected areas

IPL matches had to be shifted out of Maharashtra because of drought conditions.

Narendra Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has questioned the move to shift Indian Premier League matches out of the drought-affected areas. Modi observed that all cricket grounds should be watered every day, irrespective of matches being staged.

The Prime Minister was speaking at a programme in Pune where he made these observations. Maharashtra was reeling under drought during this years' IPL and many matches which were scheduled to be held in Mumbai and Pune had to be shifted.

"There is water crisis today...Sometimes, our media people distort the things way too much, and we cannot even play cricket. Wherever there is a stadium...Whether a cricket match is held or not, the ground needs to be watered 365 days (of the year)," Modi said.

A major controversy surrounded the IPL this year as several PILs  were filed in the Bombay High Court as well as the Supreme Court because of the IPL matches being played in drought-affected states.  Maharashtra was the worst affected state and after all efforts and pleas, the matches were shifted to Vishakhapatnam.

Also read: Who said what: Cricket fraternity reacts to shift in IPL matches from Maharashtra  

"They (grounds) have to be watered for 365 days, that's how the green cover remains...Otherwise, there will be no game in the stadium even after two years...Don't know where (they) bring this new philosophy. Due to the shifting of matches, Maharashtra had to bear a (revenue) loss" the Prime Minister added.

The matches were moved out after there was widespread outrage over usage of water to maintain cricket fields and pitches. It was argued that water was wasted in holding matches, and it is not justified since the majority of the state was suffering from the acute water crisis.

“We see no merits in the contention raised,” a bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur had observed, dismissing the Mumbai Cricket Association and Maharashtra Cricket Association’s appeals against the high court order.

In their plea, the state cricket associations said it will not waste potable water but use treated sewage water to maintain cricket pitches.

The Mumbai Cricket Association owns The Wankhede stadium in Mumbai is owned by the Mumbai Cricket Association while the Maharashtra Cricket Association looks after the Gahunje cricket stadium in Pune.

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