Karnataka is observing an entire state bandh today after the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal passed an order in favour of Goa on July 27. The order came as a major blow to the Karnataka government’s long-pending Kalasa-Banduri Nala project.
Protests erupted in several districts of North Karnataka after the verdict against releasing water was out on Wednesday.
The tribunal rejected Karnataka’s plea to divert 7.56 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) from Mahadayi basin to Malaprabha river. The Tribunal, headed by JN Panchal heard arguments by counsels for the two states on Tuesday and passed his verdict.
Decades ago, the Karnataka government had planned the Kalasa-Banduri Nala project to divert water towards Malaprabha basin in North Karnataka. The project was meant to solve the water crises in Hubballi, Belagavi, Dharwad and its neighbouring areas.
However, the Goa government had raised objections over the diversion, citing that the river was the lifeline of the state and also the project would adversely affect the ecology.
Wednesday’s verdict is only the interim order, not the final one. It has raised the eyebrows of several of Karnataka organisations. A pro-Kannada organisation called Kannada Okkoota vehemently criticised Karnataka’s Members of Parliament who couldn’t take a firm stand and protect the interest of the people.
Farmers in several districts raised slogans against the verdict, demanding drinking water. In several places, such as Belagavi city, they burned effigies on the roads.
Angry protesters barged into MP Shivakumar Udasi’s office in Haveri and vandalized it.