Showing the divide within farmers and pro-Kannada organisations, a separate group of organisations, under the leadership of Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj, has called for a Karnataka bandh on Friday over the inter-State Cauvery river water dispute. Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister and Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar on Tuesday said the government would not allow for a bandh again on Friday.
“Tuesday’s order directing Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs of water everyday to Tamil Nadu for 18 more days is gross injustice to the people of the State. No one seems to be considering the plight of our farmers. The government should refrain from releasing water; otherwise, Bengaluru will face shortage of drinking water. On Wednesday, we have decided to stage a protest in front of Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s residence, and we have also called for a bandh on Friday,” Mr. Nagaraj said.
Confusion reigns within various sectors, including transport associations and hotel groups, regarding their support for the September 29 bandh.
T.M. Rudramurthy, general secretary of the Bengaluru Autorickshaw Drivers’ Union, said: “Our members are urging us not to participate in the bandh by suspending services because auto drivers rely on daily earnings to support their families. Halting auto services would pose significant difficulties for them. However, we will extend our moral support to the bandh.”
“While we backed the bandh on Tuesday, it is important to note that many KSRTC and BMTC employees had reported to duty, despite a bandh support from our federation. As we approach the Statewide bandh, we will decide about it soon,” said Ananth Subbarao, State president of the KSRTC Staff and Workers’ Federation. Ola, Uber Drivers, and Owners’ Association is also yet to decide about their support.
Meanwhile, P.C. Rao, president of the Bruhat Bengaluru Hotels Association, said they needed to consult with their members. “The Karnataka Hotels Association must also make a collective decision, given that this bandh encompasses the entire State,” he said.