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Bangalore hit by general strike on water issue

The dawn-to-dusk strike in Karnataka follows a ruling giving an increased share of river water to Tamil Nadu.

india Updated: Mar 25, 2007 13:12 IST

Normal life was paralysed in the IT hub of Bangalore and districts in Cauvery belt following a bandh called by pro-Kannada outfits to protest the award of Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal. But there were no immediate reports of violence.

Bangalore wore a deserted look with the normal hustle and bustle missing, as buses, auto-rikshaws and taxis kept off the roads and shops and other commercial establishments downed shutters.

Though most of the IT companies remained closed, some made arrangements for their employees to work from home. Attendance in government offices were low and transactions in banks was badly affected.

Groups of Kannada activists staged protests in front of the airport and the city railway station but were rounded up by the police, who are keeping a close vigil with 20,000 personnel deployed in the city alone with back-up by paramilitary forces.

The bandh evoked near-total response in the Cauvery belt particularly in the volatile districts of Mandya, Mysore and Chamarajnagar, but overall situation remained calm.

Nearly 70,000 police and other security personnel are on duty during the statewide bandh which however evoked a mixed response in north Karnataka.

Some flights were either rescheduled or combined or cancelled, sources at different airlines said. Congress members decided to stay away from the proceedings of the legislature session, which is currently on. The road and rail traffic between Bangalore-Mysore was crippled.

Police have clamped prohibitory orders from 6 am today to 6 am tomorrow in Bangalore, banning assembly of five or more persons.

Schools and colleges have declared a holiday. Cinema halls are also closed on Monday. Activities in the Kannada film industry have also halted as the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce has extended its support for the bandh.

The bandh cast its shadow on the Sony Ericson WTA championsip which would now start from Tuesday instead of Monday, after having lost sheen with star attraction and former world No one Serena Williams pulling out of the event citing her illness.

Ever since the Tribunal came out with its final award on February five, apportioning 419 tmcft (thouand million cubic feet) to Tamil Nadu and 270 tmcft to Karnataka, which would however has to release 192 tmcft, protests have erupted in Mandya and Mysore districts against it but have remained peaceful so far.

Unhappy with the award that came after 17 years, Karnataka has said it would file a revision petition before the tribunal within the stipulated 90 days seeking a review of its award.

The bandh was originally called by pro-Kannada organisations, including Kannada Chaluvali Leader Vatal Nagaraj, a lone member of his Kannada outfit, and other organisations for February eight but was rescheduled for Monday.

First Published: Feb 14, 2007 19:53 IST