Mahadayi row: Karnataka Bandh may disrupt normal life today

Last Updated: Sat, Jul 30, 2016 10:28 hrs
Mahadayi row: Karnataka Bandh may disrupt normal life today

Bengaluru: Violent protests over the rejection of Karnataka's interim plea for sharing the Mahadayi river water with Goa by a tribunal disrupted normal life across cities and towns in north Karnataka.

A state-wide bandh in Karnataka is to be observed on Saturday. The bandh by pro-Kannada and farmer organisations is a protest against the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal's interim order rejecting the state's petition seeking 7.56 tmcft for the Kalasa-Banduri project.

This may hit the transportation services, except for the local trains and all hotels, schools, recreational facilities and shops would also remain closed at least till 6 PM.

The Mahaydai Water Disputes Tribunal, headed by J.N. Panchal, on Wednesday rejected the state's petition for 7.6 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) of water from the river, citing various grounds, including ecological damage the project may cause.

With farmers' associations and pro-Kannada organisations staging demonstrations and protest rallies against the verdict, additional police forces were deployed in cities and towns across the region to maintain law and order and contain the agitation.

Besides the ruling Congress government in the state, leaders of national and regional political parties were criticised for failing to ensure drinking water from the river to the affected region, which has been reeling under severe drought over the last two years.

The project to supply drinking water to Hubballi-Dharwad, Gadag, Bagalkot and Belagavi districts from the river through Kalsa-Banduri canals in the Malabrabha basin has remained incomplete due to standoff between the two states since a decade.

As the 77km-long Mahadayi flows into Goa from Karnataka on the west coast into the Arabian Sea, the former has been objecting over sharing its water, as 52 km of its stretch is in its state and is a lifeline for its people.

According to a central water commission study, of the total (197-220 tmcft) water in the river basin, the yield in the state's catchment area is 44-53 tmcft. The state plans to use around 37 tmcft of its water for drinking water and hydel power generation.

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