Karnataka Shutdown Over Cauvery Dispute: 44 Flights Cancelled, 50 Protesters Detained; CM Meets Deputy CM

Today, Karnataka has observed a shutdown in protest against the diversion of Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu. Over 30 farmer groups, traders, and Kannada supporter organizations have called for a 12-hour bandh from 6 AM to 6 PM.

Cancellation of Flights to Bengaluru International Airport

Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport has announced the cancellation of around 44 flights today. Metro and bus services are operational, but there is no significant crowd. Schools and colleges in Bengaluru and Mandya have declared a holiday.

Meeting Between Karnataka Deputy CM and Irrigation Minister Amidst Protests

Amidst the protests, Karnataka’s Deputy Chief Minister and the Irrigation Minister, D.K. Shivakumar, are holding a meeting. Karnataka police have detained over 50 protesters so far.

Efforts to Halt Daily Life in Protest

Protesters have attempted to halt daily life by shutting down shops, shopping malls, movie theaters, hotels, and restaurants. Previously, these same organizations had called for a shutdown in Bengaluru on September 26th.

Cauvery Water Management Authority’s Order

On September 13th, the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) had issued an order. According to the order, Karnataka has to release 5,000 cubic feet of water per second to Tamil Nadu from the Cauvery River for the next 15 days. Karnataka’s farmer organizations, Kannada groups, and opposition parties are opposing this decision. The dispute over the Cauvery River water sharing between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu is a century-old conflict.

Implementation of Section 144 in Many Districts of Karnataka

In several districts of Karnataka, Section 144 has been imposed. This includes Bengaluru Urban, Mandya, Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, Ramanagara, and Hassan. This means that gatherings of more than 4 people are not allowed in one place. All educational institutions in these districts are closed.

An Estimated Loss of Approximately Rs. 4,000 Crores During the Two Shutdowns

Industrialists in Bengaluru have estimated a loss of around Rs. 4,000 crores during the two shutdowns that occurred within a week. They have expressed concerns that the ongoing pandemic-induced economic downturn could worsen due to these shutdowns, and instead of a bandh, permission should be granted for protest demonstrations.

Protesters’ Five Demands Presented to the Government Two Days Ago

Two days ago, during the protests, the demonstrators presented five demands to the government. These committees gave the government a three-day ultimatum to fulfill their demands, warning that if not, they would intensify their agitation. Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Dr. CN Ashwath Narayan stated that Tamil Nadu’s demand for 12,500 cusecs of water had not been met and that Karnataka was currently releasing 5,000 cusecs.

CM Siddaramaiah: Opposition is Playing Politics

On Tuesday, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah accused the opposition parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janata Dal (Secular), of playing politics over the Cauvery water dispute. During a discussion with journalists in Mysuru, he said that no one had announced a bandh; it was a voluntary shutdown. He added that there was a Supreme Court order, and while they may disagree with it, they should abide by it. Karnataka’s Deputy Chief Minister Dr. CN Ashwath Narayan met with protesters at Freedom Park and discussed their five demands. In these demands, there is no mention of not providing water to Tamil Nadu, forming an organization similar to the Cauvery Management Board, implementing the Mekedatu project, and withdrawing cases against farmers.

What Is the Cauvery Water Dispute Between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu?

The 800 km long Cauvery River originates from the Brahmagiri hills in Karnataka’s Kodagu district. It flows from Tamil Nadu and empties into the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh. The Cauvery basin covers 32,000 square kilometers in Karnataka and 44,000 square kilometers in Tamil Nadu. The dispute over the sharing of Cauvery river water has been ongoing for over 140 years between the two states.

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah: Tamil Nadu Is Not in a Position to Provide Water

During an emergency meeting of Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah with top officials on Wednesday, September 13, he stated that Tamil Nadu is not in a position to provide water. This special emergency meeting is ongoing at the Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru under the leadership of CM Siddaramaiah. He said that Tamil Nadu had demanded 12,500 cusecs of water, but Karnataka was currently unable to release that amount of water.

Niyati Rao

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