Karnataka bandh: Pro-Kannada organisations have called for a state-wide strike over an array of issues. The dawn-to-dask shutdown has been called by an umbrella organisation of Kannada bodies Kannada Okoota. They have put forward a few demands which included a farm loan waiver and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in the Mahadayi river water dispute. They also wanted a permanent solution to the problem of water scarcity in arid areas. A protest march was planned from Town hall to Vidhana Soudha by the organisers. The protestors also demanded action against Tamil Nadu’s resistance on the Mekedatu project being facilitated across the river Kaveri.
The reports say the bandh is unlikely to have an impact on the local transport wing. The bus, auto and taxi services will continue to ply as per schedule. Also, banks and ATMs will also continue to function as normal. However, shops by and large have remained closed so far.
The organisers also want Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) activists exiled from the state for their alleged anti Kannada activities in Belagavi.
The Karnataka government has locked horns with the neighbouring Goa on the larger issue of sharing the Mahadayi River water between both the states. Both the state government had expressed conflicting interests on the issue. Karnataka had petitioned the Tribunal seeking the release of 7.56 tmcft water to Malprabha basin.
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The Kalasa-Banduri project is being undertaken by Karnataka to improve drinking water supply in the twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad and the districts of Belagavi and Gadag. The Mahadayi tribunal has asked the states to resolve the issue out of court settlement through negotiations, with or without third party intervention.
Congress in Karnataka had yesterday demanded that the central government formulate a national policy on farm loans. State Pradesh Congress Committee President G Parameshwara said that if there was a national policy, all states which now have different policies, would follow it. There would be uniformity in approach by both central and state governments when they waive such loans, he had said.