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 Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced.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.
Sachin Mehta, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur
The ban of IPL matches in Maharashtra in view of drastic drought situation in the state has led to the various activists questioning the wisdom of court. Questions are being raised on whether IPL ended up as a soft target and the court just played to the gallery perhaps? Was it a much needed step or mere tokenism?
The issue of equity of water has been debated upon by development professionals for ages. The need for user groups to participate in water governance has also been stressed upon from various international forays. In the absence of streamlined water governance, in developing countries like ours water becomes a source of social power.
It has been estimated that with the eviction of IPL from the state’s cricket stadiums, approximately 60 lakh litres of water could be saved which was earlier supposed to be used for maintaining the pitches on the ground. This judgement has invited a lot of criticism from the people questioning why it is that only IPL is being targeted. Public intellectuals have labelled the opposition to the IPL as “the worst kind of tokenism” and found it hypocritical as to why there’s no demand to stop watering the huge lawns of the Raj Bhawan or the Mahalakshmi Race Course or empty the swimming pools of the state.
It is very much understood that the amount of water saved would not be enough to tackle the issue but, the shock treatment from the court will certainly raise the awareness about the situation. There is no doubt that this unusual decision of the court is another instance of arbitrary judicial intervention in the governance space. But, the judgement by court of law has somewhere delivered a signal in order to reflect upon the seriousness of the situation.
Indeed, it is the popularity of the tournament that has made IPL the perfect target to draw attention to excess and highlight the spreading water scarcity.