As temperatures rise all across India, the hosting of IPL games is becoming a hot potato. IPL games are being parcelled out of venues in Maharashtra under judicial and public pressure to other cities such as Vishakhapatnam, Raipur, Jaipur and Kanpur. But residents, politicians and activists in those states are asking why should they host these matches when their lands are as parched as Latur in Maharashtra.
Former union power secretary EAS Sarma who now is the convener of Forum For Better Vishakha (BVF), a civil society group, has shot off a letter to Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu asking him to cancel IPL games in the city.
Sarma, who lives in the port city, has been waging a relentless a battle against the attempts both by state and non-state players to disturb the sensitive ecological balance in the area. He said the situation in Andhra Pradesh, especially in Visakhapatnam, was no way better than Latur, and in fact worsening.Residents of the port city, Vishakhapatnam, say they are as parched as Latur to host IPL
Stating that Visakhapatnam was already facing a severe water scarcity and the position was expected deteriorate as the summer temperatures climb up in the coming days, the former bureaucrat described the crisis in Vizag as man-made and requested the government to not take steps that would deepen crisis further.
In his view the IPL will place considerable stress on the city's water supply system and said the previous IPL had left painful memories for the people of picturesque coastal city.
"The luxury in which the IPL had conducted itself and the way liquor was sold at the IPL stalls last time when the matches were played here, had left an ugly imprint on the people's minds," he said. He was worried the unbearable stress on the city water supply system had finally affected the farmers in the surrounding areas.
To meet the demands of city, water had been diverted from the Raiwada Reservoir leading to the shortfall in the water availability there for agriculture and the state stands committed to make good that shortfall.
"Therefore, the first priority in supplying water should be for the Raiwada farmers. What has happened in Maharashtra should serve as a wakeup call to the State government in Andhra Pradesh."
This, he said, was caused by excessive and indiscriminate commitments made by the local authorities to industrial units, without considering the water availability scenario.
"I have analysed the water balance for the Vishakhapatnam Urban Develupment Authority (VUDA) area and I find that the total water commitments made to industry amount to 254 million gallons a day(MGD), whereas the net water availability, even after taking into account the incremental availability from Polavaram project (which is highly doubtful), may not be more than 60 MGD. In other words, the city is heading towards a more severe water crisis than now," he cautioned the government in the letter.
Sarma alleged that the state government's undue favor to Hinduja Group had added to the city's water woes.
"The Hinduja Group is required to invest on a desalination plant for meeting its own water needs, as per the condition stipulated in the environment clearance letter issued by the Union Ministry of Environment but, as a result of connivance between the company and the State authorities, the company has been allowed to bypass this commitment and draw water from the city's water supply system, depriving the people of Vizag of their legitimate need for water for drinking," Sarma said.
Last Updated 31, Mar 2018, 7:04 PM IST