HUBBALLI: A number of tourists were forced to spend their day in cars and buses as many towns in North Karnataka were shut for Mahadayi protests. Tourists travelling from Hampi and Badami were worst hit as many taxis and buses were held up outside the towns and villages for more than eight hours. Protesters had blocked major highways connecting Hubballi, Hampi and coastal areas like Karwar and Gokarna.
Hundreds of private cars, tourists buses and taxis had to wait for more than eight hours during the protest. Though there are no major protests in the next few days, the police have cautioned the tourists to keep an eye on protests in areas around Malaprabha basin. A Charactered Account from Bengaluru who was travelling from Hampi to Badami had an unpleasant experience as their taxi was stopped at Belur village in Bagalkot district. The taxi had two women travellers and the driver, but the villagers at Belur refused to remove the barricades they had put up to stop the traffic. The women made distress calls to police even as the numbers of vehicles at Belur town kept increasing. The police who reached the protest site tried to convince the farmers who allowed the tourists to pass only by evening. “We tried to reach police numbers from Bagalkot, but the help never came.
While many travellers managed to get to the highway through small villagers, we had no such familiarity with the area. We were supposed to reach Hubballi by evening, but stayed back at Badami after our taxi was stranded for more than seven hours,” said Shrilakshmi, a tourist from Bengaluru. Superintendent of Bagalkot, C B Ryshyanth said that most of the highway traffic was allowed to move despite the protests.