New Delhi, May 4: This year's T20 World Cup is set to be moved from India to the UAE with the BCCI acknowledging that none of the participating teams would be "comfortable" coming here because "a third wave" of COVID-19 cases is expected at the time of the event.
While a final decision will be taken in a month's time but it is understood that even the Indian cricket board is jittery about holding the 16-team tournament in October-November after the ongoing IPL had to be suspended because of multiple COVID-19 cases inside the bio-bubble.
PTI has learnt BCCI officials have had very recent discussions with some of the top decision-makers in the central government and a shift to the UAE has been more or less agreed upon. The dates of the marquee competition, which was planned across nine venues, have not yet been finalised.
"The suspension of IPL within four weeks is an indicator that it's not really safe to host a global event of that magnitude at a time when the country is fighting its worst health crisis in last 70 years," a senior BCCI source privy to development said on conditions of anonymity.
"There is a chance of a third wave hitting the Indian shores in November. So while BCCI will remain the hosts, the tournament will probably shift to the UAE," he added.
Health experts have warned of a third wave in India in September, a view that has been shared by Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope.
The dire situation in India, where a daily addition of over 3 lakh new cases has continued for the past many days, has shaken most of the member boards and the ICC is unlikely to take a risk with safety of international cricket teams.
"You can be rest assured that most of the top nations wouldn't like to tour India within next six months unless the situation comes to normalcy. The players and their families would be very wary to travel if they are in the middle of another surge.
"So expect BCCI to agree with shift of tournament to UAE," another source also chipped in.
he said IPL's suspension after a string of positive cases has made the officialdom very jittery of taking any more risks.
"The IPL in India was a platform to prove to the world as well as participating nations that it is safe to host a tournament even when the second wave is hitting its peak.
"It was going well but the bio bubble has now become porous. What's the guarantee it won't happen again in October-November. Nations like Australia, England and New Zealand are almost certain to have travel advisories in place," he argued.
One of the biggest reasons for conducting the tournament in the UAE is that it can be kept to three grounds -- Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi -- and there is no air travel.
"Look six venues for IPL was always a dangerous proposition when they successfully managed with three during the last edition," the source said.
"In UAE, all of them were in one bubble from start to finish while here each team was travelling to three bubbles. Most of the positive cases emerged after bubble travel.
"Therefore even if you reduce the number of venues from 9 to 5 in October, still there will be air travel unlike UAE. Also for players, they would not be mentally in a space to play in India unless the situation drastically improves," he added.
There is an ICC meeting in June where a final decision will be taken but retaining the tournament in India after cancellation of IPL seems far-fetched at this point.
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New Delhi, May 16: The Centre directed Uttar Pradesh and Bihar on Sunday to prevent dumping of dead bodies in the Ganga and its tributaries, and focus on their safe disposal and a dignified cremation after corpses were seen floating in these rivers following a spurt in the number of coronavirus cases.
At a review meeting conducted on May 15-16, the Centre said dumping of dead bodies and partially burnt or decomposed corpses in the Ganga and its tributaries has recently been reported, which is "most undesirable and alarming".
"Namami Gange directs states to prevent dumping of dead bodies in the Ganga and focus on their safe disposal and providing support for ensuring dignified cremation," the Jal Shakti Ministry said.
The state pollution control boards were directed to monitor the water quality more frequently in consultations with the health departments.
The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) was assigned the task of overall monitoring, providing guidance to the state pollution control boards and taking up advanced analysis in the matter.
Support for cremation needs to be given top priority. Effective implementation of the government orders needs to be ensured. No loss of time should take place in implementation, the ministry said.
An advisory was issued by Rajiv Ranjan Mishra, Director General, National Mission for Clean Ganga, to the district magistrates, who are also the chairpersons of the district Ganga committees, on May 11.
This was followed up by a letter the next day to the chief secretaries to prevent the dumping of dead bodies in the river and ensure enforcement of the government guidelines on the cremation of COVID-19 victims.
The letter also advised the states to provide financial assistance as well as regulate the rates for the cremation or burial process.
On May 15, the steps taken in this regard in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were reviewed at a meeting chaired Pankaj Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Jal Shakti, and further action points were decided.
Highlighting the instructions already given, Kumar had called for expeditious action and underscored the need to give equal attention to such incidents in urban and rural areas along the Ganga and other rivers.
"Stopping of dumping of dead bodies as well as their safe disposal and protection of water quality have to be ensured on a war footing. After knowing the progress from the states, the CWC (Central Water Commission), the CPCB and the state pollution control boards would also be giving their feedback and action plans," he had said.
Mishra stated that the situation is being monitored and follow-up action is being taken in several districts such as Unnao, Kanpur rural, Ghazipur and Balia in Uttar Pradesh and Buxar and Saran in Bihar.
However, some cases have also been reported from other districts. He asked the state missions to keep an eye on the situation.
Mishra emphasised the need to strengthen enforcement, maintain vigil and take proactive action to facilitate and support the families for the cremation of the bodies and asked the state missions to specifically report on this.
"If needed, the project directors can assess and also give support to the district Ganga committees for this out of the NMCG funds available with them, while keeping the NMCG informed," he said.
Rajnish Dubey, Additional Chief Secretary, Urban Development, and Anurag Shrivastav, Principal Secretary, Jal Shakti and Project Director, State Ganga Mission, represented Uttar Pradesh in the meeting.
Shrivastava said all the district magistrates have been alerted about the issue and patrolling is being carried out to prevent dumping of dead bodies in the Ganga.
He also informed that 13 crematoria under Namami Gange, in addition to the existing ones, have been made available for the cremation of dead bodies.
It was informed that orders have been issued for financial support for cremations in urban areas. Dubey said similar orders for a financial support of Rs 5,000 have been issued by the Panchayati Raj department for rural areas and the SDRF and other forces have also been asked to carry out patrolling.
Anand Kishore, Principal Secretary, Urban Development and Project Director, State Ganga Mission, Government of Bihar, informed that it has been decided that the cremation or burial expenses of those dying due to COVID-19 will be borne by the state government.
He added that even if the deceased did not have a COVID-positive report but showed symptoms of the disease, the family will be offered this support.
He also said patrolling is being done to prevent further dumping of dead bodies in the river, especially in districts like Buxar and Saran (Chhapra).
CWC Chairman S K Halder informed that they are monitoring the flow and the water quality of the river through their stations and will further increase the frequency.
CPCB Member Secretary Prashant Gargava said the board has forewarned all water monitoring stations along the Ganga and her tributaries. The periodicity of testing the water quality has also been increased.
Debashree Mukherjee, Additional Secretary with the Jal Shakti Ministry, stated that besides an urgent assessment of the risks to the riverside communities by the pollution control boards, there is a need to raise awareness on the dos and don'ts as regards the use of river water and to prevent such incidents of dumping of bodies in the river.