Ignoring drought is not cricket

Ignoring drought is not cricket

By THE SUNDAY GUARDIAN | 16 April, 2016

The Mumbai High Court deserves the appreciation of all citizens for the manner in which it has ordered that T20 cricket matches should get shifted outside Maharashtra by the end of the month. It was expected that the state government headed by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis would act appropriately by shutting down T20 matches in the state in recognition of the destructive drought that is blighting the state. Large parts of Maharashtra are suffering the effects of decades of neglect in the form of organised loot of irrigation budgets by successive state governments. The BJP had made a great deal of noise during the 2014 election campaigns about the fact that the state irrigation department has been used as a means of personal enrichment by politicians and officials. Had the huge dollops of money wasted in non-existent schemes got spent on genuine projects, thousands of farmers in Maharashtra, who have committed suicide, would now still be alive and indeed prosperous. It was expected that the BJP-Shiv Sena government would initiate action against the previous government for the colossal failure in ensuring the proper utilisation of funds in irrigation projects. However, thus far such action has been absent, although the state government keeps assuring citizens that accountability is “on the way”. Indeed, at the national level as well, there has thus far been no action by the new government on those in the UPA who are known to have amassed great wealth, either directly or through family members. Hopefully, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be able to ensure that those who betrayed the public trust during the Manmohan Singh decade will be brought to book. Certainly, there will be enough evidence in the records of government departments to initiate such action, which would demonstrate the Modi government’s commitment to probity in public life.  By its ground-breaking verdict, the Mumbai High Court has shown the way in which drought needs to be tackled, which is by every section of society joining together to ensure that the situation gets better. In some other countries, a shortage of water is tackled by curbs on use or higher imposts. In India, by contrast, those sections of society unaffected by a calamity decline to join in measures for amelioration. Hence, waste on a shameless scale co-exists with scarcity to a degree that costs lives. By its verdict, the judiciary has signalled to the whole of society in Maharashtra that there should be sacrifice on the part of all who have thus far been enjoying plenty. The shifting of cricket matches out of Maharashtra has acted as a powerful symbol of the crisis afflicting the state, and hopefully will energise citizens to ensure that water is saved and not wasted. What is needed is to expand exponentially the scope of water harvesting, especially rainwater harvesting. Let it not be forgotten that the city of Mumbai has on several occasions suffered from a deluge of rain, much of which gets lost to residents, flowing uselessly into the sea. Devendra Fadnavis needs to break this vicious cycle by putting in place measures for ensuring proper utilisation of irrigation budgets, besides other means of water conservation. The Board of Control for Cricket in India should accept the court’s decision in a sporting manner. Indeed, the BCCI can set apart 25% of its surpluses towards drought relief across the country, something that would give even more pleasure to millions than watching the game itself. Such a move would be in the best traditions of that game for gentlepersons, cricket.

 

Add new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.