Six hurt in police action at Budikote

Protest against supply of water from Markandaiah tank takes violent turn

 Injured Circle Police Inspector Lakshmaiah DH PHOTOFarmers of the Markandaiah tank command area and activits of various organisations had gathered in large numbers near the tank to voice their protest against supply of water from Markandaiah tank to Malur taluk. They even attempted to demolish the cement tank being constructed for the purpose.

Stone throwing

Trouble started as a few people, alleged to be ‘hired farmers’ from Malur indulged in stone throwing and police resorted to mild lathicharge to quell the violence. Five farmers from Budikote -  Gowdara Seenappa, Venkatesh, Ramesh, Narayanaswamy and Krishnappa sustained minor injuries during the incident. Robsertson Circle Police Inspector Lakshmaiah who intervened to pacify an irate mob has sustained grievous injuries in the stone pelting and has been admitted to the General Hospital in Bangarpet. A police vehicle has also been damaged in the incident.

Earlier, the protesters took out a jatha up to Markandaiah tank on the outskirts of Budikote. Addressing the protesters, former MLA C Venkateshappa, leaders Rajareddy, Chandrareddy and others accused MLA Krishnaiah Setty of attempting to throw more than 5,000 families into streets through the project.

The tank was constructed during the rule of Jayachamarajendra Wodeyar of the erstwhile Mysore province in 1940. The waterbody has become the lifeline of the farmers of this region. The farmers in the command area have been paying user fee for the tank. The share of the farmers was 4 pc at the time of construction and the construction was completed at a cost of Rs 4.35 lakh in a span of one year.

Proposal dropped

The tank has been irrigating 2,500 acres of land. Attempts were made by T Chennaiah, during his tenure as Health Minister to supply the tank water to Kolar. However, he dropped the proposal as Sarvodaya leader Pattabhiramaiah, the then Union Minister M V Krishnappa and Narayanagowda, then MLA succeeded in convincing the minister that the tank is solely meant for the benefit of command area farmers. A similar effort was made in 1980 to supply the water to Kolar Gold Fields, which too was unsuccessful. But, during the rule of coalition government in the State, Malur legislator prevailed on the then Rural Water Supply Minister and officers of the Zilla Panchayat to take up the project for supplying water to Malur taluk from the tank. The MLA, Krishnaiah Setty has joined hands with a private company and submitted a Rs 31.5 crore estimate to the government, they alleged.

Supply pipes have already been laid to 100 villages and construction two huge tanks near the Markandaiah tank is in progress. The work has also been brought to the notice of the Governor, the protesters said.

The protest, which commenced at 10 in the morning lasted for about three hours. The farmers demanded that the Deputy Commissioner should come to the spot. However, tahsildar Dr Dakshayini arrived at the spot and received a memorandum from the protesters.

Activists of Dalit Sangharsha Samiti, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike and members of various political parties took part in the protest.

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