Protests in Cauvery heartland over water release to TN

In Mandya, farmers along with political leaders, Kannada activists and members of various Dalit organisations staged a protest in front of the Sir M Visvesvaraya statue.
Farmers protest against the release of water to Tamil Nadu, in Srirangapatna in Mandya district on Thursday | Express
Farmers protest against the release of water to Tamil Nadu, in Srirangapatna in Mandya district on Thursday | Express

MYSURU: With Karnataka releasing water to Tamil Nadu complying with the directives of the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA), protests have erupted in the Cauvery heartland in Karnataka.
The farmers took to the streets against the release of 5,000 cusecs of water to the neighbouring district across Mandya and also started an indefinite stir at the KRS reservoir. The farmers also staged ‘shirtless’ protests raising slogans against Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Deputy CM DK Shivakumar (who also holds the water resources portfolio) and Mandya district and Agriculture Minister N Chaluvarayaswamy.

In Mandya, farmers along with political leaders, Kannada activists and members of various Dalit organisations staged a protest in front of the Sir M Visvesvaraya statue and lashed out at the Karnataka government for releasing water and falling prey to TN’s pressure tactics.

They urged the government to immediately stop releasing water as the water level in KRS has dipped from 113ft to 110ft as against the maximum 124ft. They feared there would be water shortage in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mandya and other towns in the Cauvery basin in Karnataka.

Raitha Hitha Rakshana Samiti vice-president Athmananda said that the State Government should have briefed the Supreme Court and the authorities concerned on the ground situation instead of releasing water. The farmers alleged that the Centre has shown a step-motherly treatment towards Karnataka and failed to arrive at a distress formula. The farmers hit out at the Tamil Nadu government for opposing the Mekedatu balancing reservoir project and for expanding its area of cultivation in the delta region.

Activists of Jai Karnataka blocked vehicular traffic in Mandya. Raitha Hitha Rakshana Samiti leaders stopped the police personnel from arresting the activists for blocking the highway.

In Srirangapatna, the farmers took out a ‘shirtless’ protest. The farmers, led by K S Nanjunde Gowda and Krishna Gowda, got into the river near the bathing ghat at Srirangapatna. They alleged that the Karnataka government failed in its duty to handle the drought-like situation in the Cauvery basin.

The protesting farmers formed a human chain at Ambedkar Circle and alleged that DK Shivakumar had failed miserably to fight for Karnataka. They also hit out at Siddaramaiah for launching the Gruha Lakshmi scheme from Mysuru at a time when the farmers are left in the lurch owing to the release of water.

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