Bengaluru: Normal life was disrupted in different parts of Karnataka on Thursday due to a state-wide bandh called by pro-Kannada outfits demanding the Prime Minister's intervention in the inter-state Mahadayi River water row with neighbouring Goa.
Major impact of the dawn-to-dusk bandh is being seen in northern districts that come under Malaprabha river basin.
Congress' role, saying it was synchronised with dates when BJP national President Amit Shah in Mysuru on Thursday to address a party rally.
Similarly, a Bengaluru bandh has been called on February 4 also, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting the poll-bound state to take part in 'Nav Karnataka Parivartan Yatra' of the state unit in the city.
Police said elaborate security arrangements have been made across the state to ensure that no untoward incident occurs.
Amit Shah will address the final rally of the Navakarnataka Nirmana Parivarthana Yatra is scheduled to start at Maharaja's College Grounds in Mysuru at 2 pm. This will be the BJP leader's third address at the yatra after it began on November 02.
In a tit-for-tat move to the bandh call during BJP President Amit Shah and Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits to Karnataka, the party's state unit has decided to observe district specific shutdown during Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's state tour.
"We have decided that when Rahul Gandhi comes to Karnataka, we will call for a complete bandh in those districts he will be visiting," BJP state President BS Yeddyurappa said.
The Congress president will begin his campaign for the upcoming assembly polls on February 10.
Updates on Karnataka Bandh on Jan 25
- Protesters began to assemble in Bengaluru's town hall. They were sloganeering, "Mahadayi river is ours"
- Protests are also being held in Attibelle during the bandh in Karnataka
- “On account of the shutdown called by various organisations, as a precautionary measure, Wipro Limited has declared a holiday for employees in Karnataka on Thursday. Business Continuity Plans have been invoked to avoid disruption to the mission-critical project,” Wipro said in a statement
- State-run buses remaining off the road, passengers who had come to the city from outside were stranded at the main bus terminal in Bengaluru
- No effect of Karnataka Bandh was seen in Kalaburagi so far
- As a precautionary measure, schools and colleges in most parts of the state have declared holiday. Several examinations have also been rescheduled
- A group of protesters tried to disrupt rail services by entering the Bengaluru's Sangolli Rayanna railway station but police stopped and detained them
- Protest was also staged in front of Manyata Embassy Business Park, a software technology park in the city, while the film industry and multiplexes have decided to remain shut, hospitals and clinics are expected to function normally, with Indian Medical Association office bearers stating that they will be extending moral support by wearing a black band
- Though hotels, restaurants and eateries were opened in some areas, owners said they may have to stop their services depending on the situation as customers are also less.
Mahadayi River dispute:
Goa and Karnataka have locked horns over sharing of Mahadayi river. The 77 km long Mahadayi or Mandovi river originates at Bhimgad in the Western Ghats in Belagavi district of north Karnataka and flows into the neighbouring Goa where it eventually joins the Arabian Sea. Though the river flows 29 km in Karnataka and 52 km in Goa, its catchment area is spread over 2,032 km in the southern state as against 1,580 km in Goa.
Karnataka has been asking Goa since 2001 is seeking release of 7.56 tmcft water for the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project to meet the drinking and crop irrigation needs of its people in the drought-prone four districts, which are Belagavi, Bagalkot, Dharwad and Gadag in the northwest.
The project is being undertaken to improve drinking water supply to the twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad and districts of Belagavi and Gadag.
Karnataka plans to build two canals at Kalasa and Banduri, the river's tributaries in the state, to divert and supply the water to the four districts.
The Mahaydai Water Disputes Tribunal, headed by Justice JN Panchal, on July 28, 2016, rejected the state's petition for releasing the river water, citing various grounds, including ecological damage the twin canal projects may cause. The Tribunal, set up by the Central Government on the Supreme Court's directive, however, suggested the two states resolve the issue amicably.
The issue is currently pending before the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal in Delhi.
With the Karnataka Assembly Election due in April-May 2018, BJP's national president Amit Shah prevailed upon Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to consider releasing the water on humanitarian grounds and boost the party's poll prospects in the state. Parrikar then wrote to BJP's state unit president BS Yeddyurappa on December 21 that he was open to discuss the issue with his Karnataka counterpart Siddaramaiah and release a certain quantity of water from the river to meet the needs of its people. Parrikar's letter was termed as an electoral gambit by the ruling Congress in poll-bound Karnataka.
With inputs from PTI....