Karnataka bandh over Mahadayi river dispute disrupts normal life
A state-wide bandh disrupted life in Karnataka. Pro-Kannada outfits called for a bandh demanding PM Narendra Modi's intervention in the inter-state Mahadayi river water row with neighbouring Goa. Bengaluru, Mysuru and Malaprabha Command Area's districts like Belagavi, Gadag, Dharwad and Bagalkot bore the maximum brunt. Schools and offices were shut. Certain public services like state-run buses also remained off the road. Here's more about it.
What is the Mahadayi river water dispute?
The Mahadayi river (Mandovi in Goa) rises in the Western Ghats in Karnataka's Belagavi district. The dispute began in 1980s, when Karnataka designed a number of dams, canals and barrages to route the Mahadayi river water to the Malaprabha basin, which is water-deficient. Goa objected contending that its population is dependent on river's natural path. SC has presently stayed the construction undertaken by Karnataka.
What impact did the bandh have on normal life?
The bandh affected regular life. Though auto-rickshaws and cabs were plying, they were lesser in number. Wipro and Infosys declared holiday for their employees. However, hospitals and clinics were functioning. Protesters held road-roko protests and tried to disrupt rail services at Bengaluru's Sangolli Rayanna station. Protests were staged at Manyata Embassy Business Park. They also burnt central government figures effigies near the Town Hall.
How did Goa react?
Considering the issue's sensitivity, Goa government-run Kadamba Transport Corporation Limited (KTCL) suspended its bus services to Karnataka. Meanwhile, they also set up a four-member committee to monitor any activities by Karnataka to divert water. BJP's alliance partner Goa Forward Party is opposed to negotiations.
What was the opposition BJP's reaction?
Incidentally, the dawn-to-dusk bandh was held on the day BJP president Amit Shah addressed the Parivartana Yatre. BJP termed the bandh "politically motivated" claiming that the ruling Congress was involved. A similar bandh is planned for February 4 when PM Modi campaigns in the poll-bound state. Now, BJP is also planning a district-specific shutdown during Congress president Rahul Gandhi's campaigns from February 10.
Is the bandh a political ploy before state polls?
Reportedly, differences have arisen amongst the Kannada groups who called for a bandh. Vatal Nagaraj, leader of Kannada Okoota, an umbrella organization of the Kannada groups, claimed the bandh was a success. But, considering that Karnataka elections are upon us and the strategic timing of the bandh raises the pertinent question: Is this bandh politically motivated?