Protests spill over to Bangalore; Karnataka bandh on Saturday

A four-member Central team inspected Cauvery basin reservoirs and standing crops in Karnataka on Friday.

The team which landed in Bangalore on Thursday night, met Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath and other officials of the water resources, agriculture department. The fact-finding central team is headed by Central Water Commission (CWC) Director B P Pandey.

The State government gave a detailed presentation on the ground realities on the water storage levels in the backdrop of deficient rainfall and drinking water requirements of all the villages, towns, and cities like Mysore, Mandya and Bangalore.

Later, the team left for Mysore to get firsthand information and to study the current situation in the Cauvery basin.

The Central team, which conducted an aerial survey of Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) and surrounding areas, returned to Mysore before leaving for a study of ground realities in KR Pet, Pandavapura, Mahadevpura and other areas in the Cauvery basin by road and conducted another inspection at KRS.

Protests in Bangalore

Meanwhile in Bangalore, a series of protests disrupted normal life in the city. Karnataka Rakshna Vedike took out a procession from National College grounds in Basavangudi to Freedom Park in the city centre. Janata Dal-Secular also took out a separate procession over the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) ruling.

BJP rebel leader and former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa sprang a surprise by holding a protest along with his supporters. He blamed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the present crisis.

The Prime Minister without assessing the situation in drought-battered Karnataka ordered release of water to Tamil Nadu and meted out step-motherly treatment to the State, he said.

The protests and marches led to traffic blocks in various parts of the city.

In Mandya, Cauvery Hitarakshana Samithi President G Madegowda resumed his relay hunger strike for the second successive day. He hit out at four Union ministers representing Karnataka for the apathy towards the Cauvery water issue.

Karnataka bandh

Various organisations in the state have called for a Karnataka bandh in protest against release of water to Tamil Nadu on Saturday.

Major trade bodies have supported the bandh. K Shiva Shanmugam, President, FKCCI has requested the trade, industry and business fraternity to co-operate.

The Karnataka Small Scale Industries Association (KASSIA) having 99 affiliated associations and over 5,300 members has also supported the bandh.“The States economy is largely dependent on the agriculture areas covered by the Cauvery irrigation besides drinking water supply to cardinal centres. The Cauvery lifeline is vital to sustain the growth of Karnataka and the SSI fraternity supports the bundh,” said A Vijayendranath, president, KASSIA.

anil.u@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 5, 2012)
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