BENGALURU: A bandh or shutdown to protest against the release of Cauvery waters to Tamil Nadu has brought Karnataka to a halt on Friday. Schools and colleges are closed as are many offices in capital Bengaluru and other places.
Here are the top 10 updates in this big story:
- In Bengaluru — which solely depends on the Cauvery River for drinking water for its 10 million citizens — most of the IT industry, comprising software majors like Infosys and Wipro and about 400 multinationals, has declared a holiday. The infamous city traffic is off the roads but there are protests at junctions across the city.
- Government schools and colleges are closed to prevent inconvenience to students and teachers. Though government offices are open, attendance is thin because of the absence of public transport.
- The Bengaluru Metro is not running on Friday morning. There are no airport taxis on the deserted roads of the city and and local television channels showed an auto rickshaw driver being beaten this morning for bringing his vehicle out.
- The government has said that essential supplies like milk and hospitals will be unaffected. But chemists are expected to be closed as are banks and restaurants. The Karnataka film industry has said it will not work today and some film stars protested at the Film Chamber of Commerce.
- People have been advised not to enter Karnataka in vehicles with Tamil Nadu registration numbers, with protesters stationing themselves at the border between the two states. Broadcast of Tamil channels has been stopped.
- The protests started in Karnataka’s Mandya district on Monday after the Supreme Court ordered the state to release 15,000 cusecs of water from the river Cauvery to Tamil Nadu for the next 10 days.
- While the protest has its epicentre in Mandya, a huge section of the population is voluntarily supporting the shutdown called by pro-Karnataka parties.
- Karnataka says it does not have enough water for drinking or irrigation. The level of water in four of the state’s reservoirs on the Cauvery is lower than usual. Farmers had not been getting water from the dams – release of water for them started only on Thursday.
- The Congress government in the state has appealed for peace, but will not be unhappy at a message being sent out over the release of water. The opposition BJP is also supporting the bandh and its leaders will hold protests today.
- Former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda of the JD(S) will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday to discuss the issue and explain Karnataka’s point of view.