June 19, 2018

Mahadayi could trigger more bandhs in Karnataka as political sparring continues

27 January 2018, 07:18 | Leigh Flowers

Karnataka bandh on Thursday over Mahadayi water dispute; schools, several offices to remain closed

Vatala Paksha President Vatal Nagaraj chairs a meeting of pro Kannada organisation regarding the Kalasa Banduri protest in Hubballi on Sunday. DH

The project, which has been hanging since 2002, was expected to provide water to the parched North Karnataka by diverting a portion of the water of Mahadayi river.

Almost 15,000 policemen and 50 battalions of Karnataka State Police will be deployed on Thursday.

The warning from the BJP comes on the back of the state's Congress unit extending its support to the call for a bandh from pro-Kannada organisations led by Vatal Nagaraj, on the days Shah and Modi are visiting the state.

Although, the frequency of cabs and auto rickshaws were very low in Bengaluru during the day, normalcy returned with the reopening of buses and shops in the evening.

A state-wide bandh disrupted life across different parts of Karnataka on Thursday as pro-Kannada outfits demand Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention in the inter-state Mahadayi River water row with Goa.

The protesters, who have organised similar bandhs in the past, have been demanding the Prime Minister's intervention in the matter, considering the dispute between Karnataka, Goa, and Maharashtra has gone on for the past three decades.

The districts are Belagavi, Bhagalkote, Dharwad and Gadag in the northwest.

Though the river runs 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. "If not, we shall take out a rally in Bengaluru on February 4".

The Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal, headed by J.N. Panchal, on July 28, 2016 rejected Karnataka's petition for releasing the water, citing various grounds including ecological damage the twin canal projects might cause.

"Buses have been stopped, bandh has been called, efforts are on to stop Modi's rally on February 4, but I have confidence in the people of this great Karnataka", he said. Mahadayi is river originates in Karnataka but largely flows through the Goa before vacating in the Arabian Sea. Meanwhile, they also set up a four-member committee to monitor any activities by Karnataka to divert water.

With Amit Shah, BJP National President attending the last Parivartana rally in Mysuru, the BJP in the state has charged CM Siddaramaiah of hatching this plan to stop Shah from addressing people in the CM's own backyard.

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