Shutdown in protest against release of water to T.N.
The Karnataka bandh call given by pro-Kannada outfits is expected to paralyse normal life across the State, particularly in the Cauvery basin districts. Nearly all services are slated to shut down over the order of the Cauvery River Authority to release water at the rate of 9,000 cusecs to Tamil Nadu.
The bandh, announced weeks in advance and supported by major political parties in the State, has been called for 12 hours starting 6 a.m., activists reiterated on Friday.
While district administrations have declared schools and colleges shut and trade establishments will down shutters, private and public transport, among several other services including buses, autorickshaws and taxis are likely to stay off the road. Fuel stations will remain closed. Cable TV operators announced that they would pull the plug on all entertainment channels during the bandh.
On Friday, several parts of Bangalore witnessed a bandh-like situation during the first half of the day following a call issued by a faction of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike led by T.A. Narayana Gowda, with support from a few small pro-Kannada outfits. The rally on Friday, which culminated at Freedom Park, had several religious leaders participating.
Roads and market areas in the central business district were deserted. This faction of the vedike is not part of the umbrella organisation, the Kannada Okkoota that is behind Saturday’s bandh.
The okkoota comprises pro-Kannada groups ranging from Kannada organisations to trade unions and film industry groups. Led by Vatal Nagaraj of the Kannada Chaluvali Vatala Paksha, the okkoota has the support of around 500 organisations. Major political parties such as the BJP and the JD(S) have announced support.
The Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Peenya Industries Association requested “traders and the industry fraternity to extend cooperation”. Senior Transport Department officials said they would operate services “depending upon the situation”, while South Western Railway has sought increased security at the stations.
Nearly 10,000 pharmacies will remain closed “voluntarily” in Bangalore, Mandya, Hassan, Chamarajanagar and Mysore, B. Lokesh, president of the Karnataka Chemists and Distributors Association, announced. Drug counters in hospitals will remain open for emergencies. The Karnataka Milk Federation, which sells about 30.5 lakh litres daily in two shifts, has asked its distributors to pick up the entire day’s supply in the morning.
The city will see increased security during the day. Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) T. Suneel Kumar, said that 17,000 police personnel would be deployed in the city. Besides this, three companies of the CRPF and the RAF, 25 KSRP platoons and 35 CAR platoons, 100 trainee policemen and 600 Home Guards would also be posted.