Karnataka will SHUT down today after a strike called by hundreds of farmers to protest against a Supreme Court direction to release Cauvery river water to Tamil Nadu is likely to hit normal life.
In years when southern Karnataka gets its full quota of monsoon rain, generally not a whisper is heard about the Cauvery water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. But when rains are less than bountiful in the catchment areas of the river, leaving four key Cauvery basin reservoirs less than full, trouble has always erupted over the sharing of water between the states.
This year, many parts of south Karnataka received rainfall 40% in excess of the normal — crucially, however, the main catchment area of the Cauvery in the Kodagu district got 33% below normal rain. The deficiency has meant that the four reservoirs in the Cauvery basin in Karnataka — Krishna Raja Sagar, Harangi, Hemavathi and Kabini — have together received only 114.66 thousand million cubic (tmc) ft of water until the end of August, about half the normal 215.70 tmc ft.
The News Minute reported that 36 battalions of Karnataka State Reserve Police and 30 platoons of the City Armed Reserve, along with the Rapid Action Force will be in action on the streets to stop untoward incidents.
This is the second bandh that the state is bracing for in less than a week’s time and the fourth this year.
Officials said with the bandh on the emotive Cauvery issue is being supported by several organisations, unions and political parties.
Amidst this shortfall in Karnataka, the government of Tamil Nadu, in an effort to protect the interests of farmers in the Thanjavur region — where paddy is grown over a vast area in the samba (August to January) season — went to the Supreme Court in August complaining that Karnataka had failed to adhere to the water release plan for a normal monsoon season outlined in the final February 5, 2007 order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.