NGT directs Centre to regulate extraction of groundwater in IPL matches

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New Delhi, Apr 16 (PTI) Expressing concern over use of potable water for maintaining cricket stadiums during IPL and other tournaments, the National Green Tribunal has directed the Ministry of Jal Shakti to hold a meeting within a month to consider the issue of regulating extraction of ground water for maintenance of play grounds. The green panel asked the Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti to hold a joint meeting with the nominees of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (not below the rank of Joint Secretary), representative of BCCI and CPCB to consider the issue of regulating extraction of ground water.

“The issues for consideration may inter alia include prohibiting use of ground water for maintenance of the play grounds atleast during the time no match is being actually played and exploring utilization of STP treated water.

'It may also include ensuring that effective rain water harvesting and water storage/recharging systems are installed in all playgrounds to save the ground water,” the NGT said.

The tribunal also suggested laying down mandatory requirement of engagement of an environmental expert for every cricket stadium for ensuring compliance with the environmental norms and using every sport event with the programme of awareness for environment protection.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel said there can be no dispute with the proposition that conservation of water is dire need of the environment. 'Every effort is required to save potable water for drinking and cricket or other such grounds may be maintained, as far as possible, from the Sewage Treatment Plant of high quality having no pathogens and offensive components. Also rain water harvesting and storage of such water may be ensured,' it said.

“We have not considered it necessary to issue notice as the above order does not involve adjudication of any disputed rights and is being passed in view of undisputed environmental obligation. We hope the concerned Authorities will act with a sense of responsibility and duty to reduce environmental footprint and societal need for conservation of every drop of water,” the bench said.

The tribunal was hearing a plea filed by one Haider Ali against use of ground water for maintenance of Cricket play grounds without availing of alternative of using STP treated water and installing rainwater harvesting systems for storing and recharge of ground water. This step results in depriving people of potable water for drinking, the plea said.

The applicant has, in particular, raised the issue of Indian Premium League (IPL) cricket matches, organized by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for commercial and entertainment purposes, without concern for water conservation. PTI PKS RKS RKS