Now that the IPL has been driven away to other states, what will cricket lovers do? Will boycott of IPL pressurise the Central govt. to constitute CMB (Cauvery Management Board) forthwith?
These are some of the questions which have been aired in public space more particularly in the social media. But whatever one may answer to these queries it was a pity that even after the Chief Justice of India (Deepak Misra) requested Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to give up the agitation for the issue of constitution of CMB since the court is seized of the issue. Ultimately both the Central govt. and the Tamil Nadu govt. have only gone to the Supreme Court for getting appropriate relief. While Tamil Nadu wants the Central govt. to be punished for contempt for not having constituted the CMB, the centre wants the Supreme Court to give a clear ruling as to what it meant by framing of a “scheme” for sharing the water between the two states.
It is needless to state that any dispute regarding sharing of water from a river running in more than one state can be settled by an inter-state water dispute tribunal and that the final word upon its verdict will have to be made by the Supreme Court. We should thank that at least the Supreme Court had now made its final word and it had also ruled that no more litigation for another 15 years on the award modified by its order. Therefore, as to the term “Scheme” is a same as the “Management Board” or it means altogether a different body has to be finally clarified by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court knowing that the situation had reached boiling proportions had not only agreed to take up the issue in the first week of May and as a consequence had requested the warring parties to keep peace, its advise went without anyone heeding to it.
The political parties and the social activists have made the Cauvery issue as a do or die battle. Little one thinks that it was a battle spread over for the last 5 decades and a peaceful and acceptable solution is still eluding. The warring groups on both sides of the border will never allow the issue to be resolved in any manner. One should understand that it is ultimately the Supreme Court which will have to resolve the controversy and allow the due share of water to Tamil Nadu. It is also surprising that the present agitation is not over the quantum of share allotted to Tamil Nadu, but that regarding the body which will have to supervise the legitimate sharing of water among the four states who are the stakeholders. At least now that wisdom has dawned on everyone that the present award modified by the Supreme Court will continue for one-and-a-half decades more and that there is no other court to which any appeals can be made since Supreme Court verdict is final and binding on all concerned. Even on the day when the clarification application filed by the Tamil Nadu govt. came up the Chief Justice of India took exception to the conduct of the central govt. and also pointed out the futility of people contending that the word “Scheme” used in its order is different from the “Management Board”. Ultimately it was reported that he had said that whatever may be the body, it should regulate the legitimate sharing of the water among the stakeholders.
Under these circumstances, the do or die battle call given by some political parties appears to be having some other intentions and not necessarily concerned with the constitution of CMB or framing of a scheme. The May 3 sitting of the court will also clarify any such doubt in this regard. When the highest court of this country which is constitutionally mandated to adjudicates such disputes, it goes beyond one’s comprehension as to why all this sudden flurry of activities.
As everyone knows that the IPL sponsored by BCCI is the private sports having lot of commercial elements and there are whole lot of fans who are attached to the game. Even if one’s physical presence is not made in the stadium, there are millions of cricket watchers who do not miss out even a single ball and are glued to their television sets. Suddenly the slogan for boycott of IPL came from nowhere and the State govt. to some extent buckled down thereby indicating it had also fallen into the propaganda war unleashed by the antagonists of the match.
Even before the boycott call different groups called for different program of action including cutting power supply to Karnataka from Neyveli Thermal Plant, non-payment of toll fee for travelling in the national highways etc. But as all these attempts which began with a bang ended up with whimper. Linking such major policy issues with local demand will ultimately destroy the importance of those demands like abolition of toll fee etc. Thereafter the radar turned on a soft target like IPL. Despite the appeal and veiled threats given to the fans from going to the stadium, the call did not have a desired result. On the other hand, the stadium was full and the enthusiasm of the fans (though they also did not oppose the demand for a CMB) did not fail. But what happened on their way to the stadium was something which no one will appreciate. While the protestors had a right to demand for cancellation of any game which in their opinion will bring the solution equally so the right of the cricket lovers to watch their loving game. Such intolerance of assaulting the game watchers will not do good to the ultimate demand of the agitators. In fact it is the topsy-turvy approach of the state govt. which finally made the IPL organizers to shift the game elsewhere. The ultimate losers will once again the Tamil people because the commerce generated by the game will not reach the hundreds of persons who lived out of very many ancillary trades.
Tamil Nadu was once known as a state having most tolerant sport watchers. Even when the Pakistan team was threatened from playing in any other metropolis, it was always felt that Chennai was the most safe place since the sports watchers were more matured and balanced in appreciating the skills of the game. Whether one likes it or not Cricket has already become a national game and it has entered into most interior nooks and corner of the country. Further when the Supreme Court is seized of the matter, there is no necessity for carrying on such a huge agitation thereby crippling the economy of the state and also putting millions of people in distress.
Even if Mettur dam holds its full capacity, the normal date by which water will be released is the second week of June. Therefore, the question of water reaching the delta regions immediately on the constitution of CMB will not arise. There are many times in the last two decades water from Mettur dam was released even in the month of July much to the disappointment of the kuruvai farmers of the delta region. However the leaders who are responsible have failed to tell the people the real truth and have started an agitation over which they themselves have no control. The first victim of this mindless exercise is the game of cricket. One doesn’t know where this will end.
Ultimately the leaders who seek people’s mandate in elections must also know that people have a fundamental right to enjoy their leisure as per the constitutional mandate and such leisures include games of their choice.
— Justice K Chandru is a retired Judge, High Court, Madras