Chief Minister Siddaramaiah laid the foundation stone for the Yettinahole project in Chikballapur
Dakshina Kannada shut down on Monday even as Chief Minister Siddaramaiah laid the foundation stone for the Yettinahole project in Chikballapur.
It was total in Mangalore and all taluk headquarters. Even in rural areas, buses and autorickshaws remained off the roads; schools, colleges and banks were shut. The attendance in government offices was thin.
Activists fear that the project, aimed at diverting about 24 tmcft of water from Nethravati’s tributaries for the benefit of parched districts would dry up the river — considered the lifeline of the district, with Mangalore solely depending on it for drinking water.
The bandh is called to coincide with the foundation laying ceremony for the project in Chikballapur, the constituency of Union Petroleum and Environment Minister M. Veerappa Moily.
Reacting to the statement of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at the function that the government was resolved to complete the project, protesters — led by former Congress MLA Vijayakumar Shetty — said they would continue their fight against the project.
CBSE class 10 students had to make their own arrangements to reach centres of examination, which began on Monday. Sreelatha, Principal of Dr. MSRM English Medium School, said she had to ask the driver to take a detour to avoid crowd near Surathkal bus stand and reach the exam centre in Panambur.
Some groups tried to put barricades at a few junctions but the police intervened and had them removed. Protesters burnt copies of Paramashivaiah Committee report that looked into the diversion of west-flowing rivers.
At Panambur Kendriya Vidyalaya — an examination centre — parents stayed back to take their children back home. “We want to safely take our children back home,” said Muralikrishna Baddi, an employee of Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals. Some private schools ran buses with signboard saying ‘CBSE Exam Duty’.
Barring an isolated incident of a bus being pelted with stone at Navabharath Circle in the early hours, the protest was peaceful. Protesters burnt tyres at several important junctions. Karnataka Rakshana Vedike activists, led by Annayya Kulal, blocked the National Highway near KPT Junction.
Several people had to walk home or to offices, while many bus commuters were stranded in the morning. Mudappa Jalihal and two other families from Ron taluk in Gadag district were waiting for buses at Lalbagh bus stop on M.G. Road with big luggage. Several commuters were seen waiting for buses at many bus stops across the city hoping that some buses would ply. Most of them had to return home.
District Police Control Room said the bandh was total all over the district and that there was no untoward incident anywhere.