Several parts of Karnataka, including Bengaluru, are likely to observe a complete shut down on Saturday over the Mahadayi issue, with transport services unavailable between 6 am and 6 pm.
A call for a bandh was given for July 30 over the Mahadayi Water Dispute Tribunal’s order rejecting Karnataka’s plea seeking 7.5tmc water for the Kalasa-Banduri project. The bandh is likely to be near total in Dharwad, Gadag, and Belagavi districts, but elsewhere in the state, support is likely to vary.
Bengaluru is likely to observe a near complete shut down. Emergency services – medical shops and hospitals – will function. Milk supply, and vegetable, fruit markets will remain open.
But most private establishments, transport services, recreational establishments are likely to be closed between 6am and 6pm. Normal life will resume after 6pm.
Transport services are likely to be hit in the state capital with both government buses and private transport services staff extending their support for the bandh.
Metro services however, will remain unaffected. Metro authorities have said they will function between 5 am and 11 pm.
Workers of BMTC and KSRTC have extended their support for the bandh, but there is no official confirmation yet from the transport corporations.
Autorickshaws too are likely to stay off the roads. Manjunath, of the Auto and Taxi Drivers’ Union told The News Minute that 1.25 lakh auto drivers and 40,000 taxi drivers affiliated with it in the city would work only after 6pm on Saturday. BV Raghavendra of the CITU auto drivers’ union said that 30,000 autos with the union would not ply.
At the time of writing, representatives of Ola told The News Minute that drivers were available on Saturday.
The Bangalore Airport Luxury Taxi Drivers’ Association has extended its support to the bandh on Saturday. None of the 3,500 airport taxis at Kempegowda International Airport would ply on Saturday between 6 am and 6 pm.
Five companies which are part of the association – Hearts car rentals, Akbar travels, Bangalore airport taxi, Megha taxi service and Meru taxi service, will stay off the roads.
Association member M Nagaraja told The News Minute “This is a matter of life, many of us are from the bordering districts, and there is no question of not supporting the bandh that is organized to highlight our right to water. We have already submitted a letter to organizations that are organizing the bandh.”
“We earn close to Rs 2,000 a day but are willing to let go of that only because this concerns our lives,” Nagaraja said.
Railways officials have said that there has been no change in the timings of trains for Saturday. “Only in case of an alarming situation, would we decide to cancel trains. Such a situation has not been reported so far. We do not cancel trains in advance also because it would be a form of indirectly supporting the bandh,” said Anil Kumar, PRO, South Central Railways.
No decision has been taken on declaration of holidays for schools and colleges. But the Associated Managements of English Medium Schools – Karnataka has said that all English medium schools will be shut on Saturday. He told TV9 Kannada that the association was supporting the bandh and would remain closed.
The Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce and Industry has extended its support for the bandh.
President Sa.Ra. Govindu told The News Minute: “Not a single theatre in Karnataka will run tomorrow.” No theatres – multiplexes included – will hold screenings until 6pm on Saturday.
Hotels are likely to be shut.
Except for emergency services, there will be a complete shut down in the three districts. Associations of hotel owners, autorickshaws, buses, petrol stations, commercial establishments have extended support for the bandh.
Bellary, Raichur districts are unlikely to be greatly affected.
Security across the state has been heightened, especially in Dharwad, Belagavi and Gadag disricts where RAF and other additional personnel have been deployed.
Credit: TheNews Minute