BENGALURU: Thousands of farmers belonging to various farmers’ associations from across Karnataka were on Thursday prevented from entering the city as they were heading to lay siege to Vidhana Soudha demanding a permanent solution to water woes.
The farmers are demanding a permanent solution to water problems in Kolar and Chikkaballapur districts.
Early on Thursday, protesters from Chikkaballapur and other places started out on a motorcycle rally towards the city. On getting information about the plan to lay siege to Vidhana Soudha, policemen were deployed in large numbers at two entry points — Devanahalli and NICE Road junction near Kengeri — to prevent the entry of the protesters.
More than 2,000 police personnel from Bengaluru city, Bengaluru Rural district and Ramanagara were deployed.
Twenty KSRP vehicles and five water cannons were also stationed at the entry points. About 20 BMTC buses were also kept ready to take protesters into preventive custody, if necessary.
The farmers, who were taken by surprise by the heavy police deployment, sat on protest and raised slogans against state government. As a result, traffic on Devanahalli Road and other places was brought to a grinding halt.
Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) leader Kodihalli Chandrashekhar said, “We were promised setting up of a corporation to look into irrigation and drinking water needs of these districts. We were told Yettinahole river diversion project would help us, but nothing has been done to help farmers in the region.”
Later, in the afternoon, Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda arrived at the spot to pacify the agitators.
Addressing the protesters, he said, “We are spending `2,260 crore to bring treated sewage water from Koramangala-Chalaghatta and Hebbal valleys to these areas. Both these projects will be completed by the end of next year and 7.25 tmcft of water will be used to fill up tanks in the two districts.”