Karnataka bandh: River row shuts offices and schools, Goa suspends buses, travellers stranded
Karnataka bandh called by pro-Kannada outfits called on Thursday demanding the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to resolve the Mahadayi water sharing dispute affected normal life in many parts of the state.Updated: Jan 25, 2018, 15:42 IST
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.
Northern districts that come under Malaprabha river basin faced the brunt of the shutdown.
In other parts, certain public services were paralysed.
In the capital city, state-run buses remained off the road, stranding people from outside the city at the main bus terminal. Similar reports came in from Mysuru, Gadag, Dharwad and Hassan.
Though autorickshaws and cabs were seen plying, they were out in lesser numbers. Cab and autorickshaw drivers said customers were few as most offices declared a holiday.
Schools and colleges in most parts of the state also declared a holiday, with several examinations being rescheduled in some cases.
A group of protesters tried to disrupt rail services by entering the Bengaluru’s Sangolli Rayanna railway station but police stopped and detained them.
Protests were also staged in front of Manyata Embassy Business Park, a software technology park in the city,
While the film industry and multiplexes decided to remain shut, hospitals and clinics are expected to function as usual, with the 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.
Karnataka and Goa, the riparian states of the Mahadayi (known as Mandovi in Goa), have been locked in a bitter battle over the sharing of the water of the river, which originates in Belagavi in Karnataka. Karnataka seeks the release of 7.56 tmcft water for the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project.
The matter is pending before the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal.
Among the Kannada organisations who called for the bandh, differences have cropped up.
Vatal Nagaraj, who heads ‘Kannada Okoota’, an umbrella organisation of Kannada bodies, visited different parts of the city on Thursday morning and claimed the bandh was “total”across the state and thanked public and organisations for cooperation.
Police said elaborate security arrangements have been made across the state to ensure that no untoward incident occurs.
Opposition BJP termed the shutdown as “politically motivated” and alleged the ruling Congress of playing a role in it, saying it was planned to coincide with when BJP national president Amit Shah is in Mysuru. Shah is scheduled to address a party rally on Thursday.
Similarly, a Bengaluru bandh has been called on February 4 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting the poll-bound state to take part in ‘Nav Karnataka Parivartan Yatra’ of the state unit in Bengaluru.
Speaking to reporters in Mysuru, BJP MP Pratap Simha called it a government sponsored bandh, alleging that the intention was to disrupt Shah’s rally.
Goa halts bus services to Karnataka
The Goa government-run Kadamba Transport Corporation Limited (KTCL) suspended its bus services to Karnataka owing to the bandh over the Mahadayi River water dispute.
KTCL buses connect Panaji to various places in Karnataka, such as Belagavi, Hubli, Bagalkot, Bengaluru and others.
“The services to Karnataka have been suspended for a day due to the strike called by them. The services will resume once the strike is called off,” KTCL’s managing director Deryk Natto said, adding that 23 buses that regularly ply to Karnataka have been kept off roads.
However, the buses to Hyderabad, which have to pass through Karnataka, moved during the early hours before the bandh started, Natto said.