Bengaluru, Jan 25: Various pro-Kannada organisations have called for ‘Karnataka Bandh’ today on January 25, demanding central government’s intervention into the Mahadayi water sharing dispute. The 12-hour statewide shutdown is likely to affect normal life in cities and towns across the state. Outfits like Kannada Chalavali Vatal Paksha led by former MLA Vatal Nagaraj have extended support to the call for ‘Karnataka Bandh’. We will be doing live updates on the effect of ‘Karnataka Bandh’ protest.
Following the ‘Karnataka Bandh’ call, a holiday has been declared for schools and colleges in Bengaluru as a precautionary measure. In state’s northern and coastal regions, schools may remain open to complete the syllabus. The Associated Management of Primary and Secondary Schools have announced that member-schools would remain closed on the day of the bandh. Hotels, restaurants, bars, malls, theatres and multiplexes may remain shut as a precautionary measure to prevent any untoward incident.
“We are forced to shut down across the state from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Thursday for the Prime Minister’s intervention in getting the Mahadayi water to meet the drinking needs of the people in the state’s four northern districts,” Kannada Rakshana Vedike (Protection Forum) Narayana Gowda told reporters here on Wednesday. “Essential services like ambulance, hospitals, milk supply, sale of vegetables and fruits and drugs through medical shops will be available to avoid inconvenience to the public,” Gowda added.
Both the state-run Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) will operate normally. However, few taxi and auto-drivers’ unions have supported the bandh. The agitating pro-Kannada organisations want Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and bring a compromise between Goa and Maharashtra so that Karnataka can get a share in the water.
Mahadayi Water Sharing Dispute:
The 77km-long Mahadayi or Mandovi river originates at Bhimgad in the Western Ghats in Belagavi district of north-west Karnataka and flows into the neighbouring Goa and eventually joins the Arabian Sea off the west coast. Though the river flows runs 29km in Karnataka and 52km in Goa, its catchment area is spread over 2,032km in the southern state as against 1,580km in the western state (Goa).
Karnataka has been asking Goa since 2001 to release 7.6 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of the river water to meet the drinking needs of its people in the drought-prone four districts and irrigating their farmlands. On July 28, 2016, the Mahaydai Water Disputes Tribunal, headed by J.N. Panchal rejected the state’s petition for releasing the river water, citing various grounds, including ecological damage the twin canal projects may cause.