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Shutdown call in Karnataka for Mahadayi water on Thursday

IANS | Bengaluru |

A call for 12-hour shutdown on Thursday in Karnataka has been given by several Kannada organisations and regional outfits for the Mahadayi river water from the neighbouring Goa state in the northwest.

“We are forced to shut down across the state from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Thursday for the Prime Minister’s intervention in getting the Mahadayi water to meet the drinking needs of the people in the state’s four northern districts,” Kannada Rakshana Vedike (Protection Forum) Narayana Gowda told reporters here on Wednesday.

With many associations across sectors and regional outfits like Kannada Chalavali Vatal Paksha led by Vatal Nagraj extending support to the shut down, normal life is likely to be affected in cities and towns across the state.

Though a holiday has been declared for schools and colleges in Bengaluru as a pre-cautionary measure, they may remain open in some districts in the state’s northern and coastal regions to complete the syllabus.

“Essential services like ambulance, hospitals, milk supply, sale of vegetables and fruits and drugs through medical shops will be available to avoid inconvenience to the public,” noted Gowda.

Government offices, hospitals, banks and post offices will function normally, while trains and flights will operate normally.

“Inter-state and intra-state services from Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mangaluru, Hubballi, Belagavi and Kalaburgi will depend on the situation during the shutdown to prevent damage to public property and injury to commuters,” a state official told IANS here.

Hotels, restaurants, bars, malls, theatres and multiplexes may remain shut as a precautionary measure to prevent a untoward incident.

If public and private transport, including cabs, autos and buses are not available due to the shutdown, IT firms are likely to declare holiday and work on Saturday.

“We will take a call on the situation on Friday morning though 24×7 services will be maintained for our global customers,” a IT firm official said.

In a related development, Bengaluru Police Commissioner Suneel Kumar warned anti-social elements and miscreants of stringent action if they create trouble, cause nuisance or damage public property.

“We have deployed about 15,000 police personnel across the city, especially in vital areas where sensitive installations are present for safety and security of the people,” asserted Kumar.

The 77km-long Mahadayi or Mandovi river originates at Bhimgad in the Western Ghats in Belagavi district of north-west Karnataka and flows into the neighbouring Goa and eventually joins the Arabian Sea off the west coast.

Though the river flows runs 29km in Karnataka and 52km in Goa, its catchment area is spread over 2,032km in the southern state as against 1,580km in the western state (Goa).

Karnataka has been asking Goa since 2001 to release 7.6 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of the river water to meet the drinking needs of its people in the drought-prone four districts and irrigating their farmlands.

The districts are Belagavi, Bhagalkote, Dharwad and Gadag in the northwest.

Karnataka plans to build two canals at Kalasa and Banduri, which are the tributaries of the river in the state, to divert and supply the water to the four districts.

The Mahaydai Water Disputes Tribunal, headed by J.N. Panchal, on July 28, 2016 rejected the state’s petition for releasing the river water, citing various grounds, including ecological damage the twin canal projects may cause.