Maharashta: Water Scarcity..IPL..Sugarcane Industry

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Anuj Goenka, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

The Bombay High Court had directed the BCCI to move all IPL matches scheduled post 30th April out of Maharashtra. The decision was granted on hearing a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) filed by The Lok Satta movement and the Foundation for Democratic Reforms.

The state of  Maharashtra is facing a severe and acute water shortage. In most parts of the state, rationing of water has been ordered while the Latur district in Marathwada region is hardest hit. The PIL was filed in this context. The petitioners argued that when the citizens are facing difficulties in obtaining water for drinking and other day-to-day activities, shifting IPL will save a large amount of water which would otherwise be spent on maintenance of cricket grounds. As per an estimate, around 6 million litres of water will be used during IPL 2016.

However, this incident needs a deeper analysis as Maharashtra particularly Marathwada faces drought more frequently than rest of Maharashtra. Marathwada is predominantly sugar cane growing area. The state is the second largest producer of sugarcane in the country after Uttar Pradesh. It is also the largest producer of sugar, which is a byproduct of sugarcane.

The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) points out in its report “Price Policy for Sugarcane-2015-16 Sugar Season” mentions that Maharashtra consumes around 2100 litres of water to produce a kilogram of sugar which is 1300-1400 litres of water over and above what Bihar requires (800 litres). A basic calculation implies that to produce a tonne of sugar ( 1 tonne = 1000 kilograms) Maharashtra needs 2.1 Million of water as compared to 0.8 million by Bihar i.e. 1.3 Million litres more. Effectively IPL just uses the water required to produce 2.86 ton of sugar (6/2.1). This is miniscule considering the sugar production by the state.

The point highlighted is the state authorities should guide and provide the required assistance to sugarcane growers to adopt more water friendly ways such as drip irrigation, improved variety of seeds etc. so that overall water consumption to produce sugarcane and sugar come down. Even if the water consumption goes down by 20% ( ideally by 62% as Bihar is doing the same), the state could easily provide water to all its citizens and can hold IPL as well.

Note: This blog doesn’t take into account water theft and leakages.



IPL vs sugarcane: That’s really the equation in Maharashtra


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