Water crisis to hit Karnataka on Saturday


Normal life will be affected on Saturday across Karnataka in view of the 12-hour shut down call by several social outfits for getting water to three parched districts in the state’s northern region.

“A dawn-to-dusk shut down will be observed across the state on Saturday for implementing the Kalasa-Banduri canal project to supply drinking water to Belagavi, Dharwad and Gadag districts,” Kannada Vatal Paksha president Vatal Nagaraj told reporters here on Friday.

With about 1,000 organisations, including social and cultural associations, industry and trade unions and pro-Kannada activists supporting the day-long shut down, state-run buses, autos, and taxis will not operate from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in cities and towns across the state.

“Schools and colleges, hotels, shops, markets, malls, theaters and petrol bunks will remain shut in support of our bandh call. A rally will be taken out from Town Hall to Freedom Park in Bengaluru where a public meeting will be held to inform the people on the urgency of the project,” he said.

The project involves building barrages across Kalasa and Banduri tributaries of Mahadayi river to divert 7.6tmc (thousand million cubic) feet of water to Malaprabha river for supplying it to the three northern districts.

“After the public meeting, we will submit a memorandum to the chief minister (Siddaramaiah) to urge the BJP-ruled central and Goa governments to allow us to build the canal project as people, especially farmers are reeling under drought due to deficit monsoon this year,” Nagaraj said.

The state-run transport corporation will not ply buses to Goa from Dharwad, Belagavi, Karwar and other places as a precaution measure and ensure safety of passengers and its vehicles.

“Though lorry and other transport associations have decided to support our call by not plying their vehicles, we have exempted essential supplies such as milk, vegetables, foodgrains and groceries from the shut down. Also the movement of ambulances,” he said.

Security has been beefed up across the state and additional forces have been deployed in cities like Bengaluru, Mysuru, Hubballi-Dharward, Belagavi and Gadag to prevent any untoward incident and ensure a peaceful shut down.