Normal life across Karnataka is likely to be affected on Saturday in view of a bandh called by pro-Kannada and farmer organisations protesting the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal’s interim order rejecting the state’s petition seeking 7.56 tmcft for drinking water projects. Transport services may be hit with several transport workers unions, autorickshaws and cab unions extending support to the call. Film theatres, hotels, restaurants and malls will also remain shut in support of the bandh. Sensing the inconvenience that the bandh may cause to students, some private schools and colleges have declared holiday today. Kannada film industry has also come in support of the bandh and film stars, directors and producers will be holding a protest march in the city tomorrow. Appealing for peace, Home Minister G Parameshwara warned against any act that violates law and causes damage to public or government property. He said two companies of Rapid Action Force and an equal number of Border Security Force had been deployed at sensitive areas besides state Reserve Police and regular forces. Three Additional Director General of Police ranking officials Bhaskar Rao, Raghavendra Auradkar and Kamal Panth have been deputed to sensitive areas to avoid any untoward incident, he added. Stating that Superintendent of Police of all districts have been instructed to ensure that no untoward incident happens, he said Hubballi-Dharwad Belagavi, Gadag, Haveri as also Chikkaballapura and Kolar have been identified as sensitive. Tension has gripped most parts of northern Karnataka like Gadag, Hubballi, Dharwad, Haveri, Belagavi, Naragunda, Navalagunda and other places as protest had turned violent yesterday during which government offices had come under attack and damages were caused to public property. Stating that prohibitory orders are in place in disturbed areas, he said several people have been arrested and cases have been booked at various places in connection with the violence. He said the Director General and Inspector General of Police has been asked to file a report on violence and lapses by police in preventing it. Karnataka government, which has locked horns with neighboring Goa on the larger issue of sharing Mahadayi River water between both the states, had petitioned the tribunal seeking the release of 7.56 tmcft of water for the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project. The tribunal which gave its interim order Wednesday after hearing arguments from both Karnataka and Goa had rejected state’s plea citing various grounds including ecological damage that the project may cause. The Kalasa-Banduri Nala (diversion) project, which will utilise 7.56 tmcft of water from the inter-state Mahadayi River, is being undertaken by Karnataka to improve drinking water supply to the twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad and the districts of Belagavi and Gadag. It involves building barrages across Kalasa and Banduri, tributaries of Mahadayi River, to divert 7.56 TMC to Malaprabha River which supplies drinking water needs of the twin cities. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had earlier said that after consulting legal experts and leaders of all political parties the further course of action would be decided. Goa government had earlier rejected Karnataka’s attempt for an out-of-court settlement of the dispute stating that the people of the state felt it was more prudent to settle the dispute through the Tribunal.
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