Hundreds of protesters on Tuesday blocked a major highway in Karnataka and 700 buses were taken off roads in massive protests a day after the Supreme Court directed the state to release Cauvery river water to neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
Mandya district, the nucleus of Cauvery politics, saw a bandh with protesters holding road blockades and dharnas at several places, as hundreds of security personnel, including Central forces, were deployed in the Cauvery belt to maintain law and order.
“When we are being given only drinking water and not a drop for irrigation, why should farmers in Tamil Nadu be given water to grow their crops. This is patently unjust and the Karnataka government must file a review petition in the Supreme Court against the decision,” said Mandya MLA MH Ambareesh.
In Tamil Nadu, farmers from the Delta region expressed unhappiness, claiming 15,000 cusec was inadequate for their farming needs and described it as “too little too late”.
Farmers are protesting in Shrirangapattana taluk of Mandya and Maddur and have attempted to block the Mysuru-Bengaluru highway. Shops, hotels and other commercial establishments and theatres and hotels remained shut and schools and colleges declared a holiday in the district where state run and private buses are also not plying.
Buses were stopped, tyres were burnt and activists rolled on the highway in protests against the court order.
Buses travelling between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu were stopped or diverted and a bus was burnt down. The police used mics to warn people against taking roads towards Mandya.
In an interim order which may ameliorate the plight of Tamil Nadu farmers to some extent, Supreme Court on Monday had asked Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water daily for the next 10 days to its neighbouring state.
The apex court also directed Tamil Nadu to approach the Supervisory Committee, set up to implement award of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT), within three days for the release of Cauvery water as per the final order of Tribunal.Nadu to approach the Supervisory Committee, set up to implement award of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT), within three days for the release of Cauvery water as per the final order of Tribunal.
The order came after senior advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for Karnataka, said as a “goodwill gesture” the state government was ready to ensure flow of 10,000 cusecs (about 0.86 TMC) per day from September 7 to 12. However, Tamil Nadu sought release of 20,000 cusecs of water per day instead of 10,000 cusecs of water in the interest of the farmers of the state.
Venting their anger, protesters burnt effigy of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at several places.
Meanwhile, the government appealed to people not to resort to agitation and to maintain calm.
“My appeal to the public is that don’t resort to agitation…and keep calm and we will make all efforts to protect the interest of the farmers,” Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra said in Bengaluru.