Are bandhs effective means to vent angst?

Are bandhs effective means to vent angst?

People in Mandya and its neighbouring districts in the region have been staging protests since September 5, when the Supreme Court directed Karnataka to release 15,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu for 10 days.

Normal life has come to a standstill in Mandya district for the past four days as people have hit the streets even in villages. The bandh alone will extend for the fourth day on Friday, when Karnataka bandh will be observed. The Mysuru-Bengaluru highway has been blocked ever since and there is no physical movement between the cultural capital and the capital of the state.

However, people are slowly raising doubts about the utility of such protests. “If people have to hit the streets for all their needs, water in this instance, why should we elect our numerous representatives? We choose GP members, TP members, ZP members, MLAs, MLCs, MPs, councillors, corporators, and many more. If they cannot get justice for us on their respective fora, we are just wasting our precious time and money for these numerous elections. Besides, the government machinery goes into a slumber, under the excuse of elections, and people are inconvenienced for weeks together throughout the year,” points out Sandeep, a businessman into travels in Mysuru.

Sandeep’s friend Manoj Jain from Mandya, who was accompanying him, added, “During the last Lok Sabha election, former minister Ambareesh had advised the then candidate Ramya that she should come and work among the people, instead of posting her pictures and opinion on the social media. Now, Ramya is tweeting whatever she knows and has also made a brief visit to the district, but where is Ambareesh?”

“If the protests by the people, like bandh, will have any effect on the recent Supreme Court order, it should have happened by now, as we have already observed Mandya bandh for three days. The only effect of the bandh is on our children. They are happy as they are enjoying holidays since September 4 — first a Sunday, followed by Ganesha Chaturthi, three days for Mandya bandh and on Friday for Karnataka bandh. Many schools now follow five-day week, so they are on a holiday since last Saturday. Students will go to school on next Monday, only to enjoy another holiday on Tuesday for Bakrid,” said G B Savitha Marigowda, mother of two sons studying in primary school in Mandya.

Krishnegowda, a farmer in Sindagatta of KR Pet taluk, Mandya district, who does not enjoy the luxury of irrigation, says he understands the value of every drop of water as he solely depends on rainwater and groundwater for agriculture.

“Already, the water available in the dams of the region are sufficient only for drinking purpose. Almost 50% of it will be lost by releasing to Tamil Nadu as per the Supreme Court order. Now, to divert the protesting farmers, the government is releasing water into the canals. So, some more amount of water will be wasted, as the waters released now will not be sufficient to grow any crop. Hence, the water crisis will only worsen, which is a side-effect of the protests,” he points out.

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