Mahadayi row brings four districts to a halt

Bandh almost peaceful; protesters throw stones at MP's hoiuse

Mahadayi row brings four districts to a halt

The bandh called for solving the Mahadayi water sharing dispute in the Malaprabha command area, covering four districts - Dharwad, Belagavi, Gadag and Bagalkot - on Wednesday was total and peaceful. Except minor incidents like stone-pelting, the protest was almost peaceful.

The bandh call was given by Mahadayi and Kalasa-Banduri Horata Samanvaya Samiti and other organisations, seeking the prime minister's intervention in the long-standing Mahadayi issue.

The bandh received overwhelming response in Dharwad district. Various organisations, traders and farmers voluntarily participated in the bandh in Kalghatagi, Kundagol, Navalgund, Hubballi and Dharwad taluks.

The Chennamma Circle in Hubballi became the epicentre of the protests as members of different organisations gathered there to demand settlement of the water dispute.

All business activities in Hubballi came to a standstill as all commercial establishments and markets remained closed. Some protesters who were staging a dharna in front of MP Pralhad Joshi's office broke the window panes of the office. In another incident, two protesters slit their hand with a blade near the railway station to register their anger against the delay in solving the Mahadayi issue.

In Dharwad city, the protest started at 9 am after agitators gathered at Jubilee Circle and the DC office premises. Traders voluntarily refrained from opening their establishments.

Banks and government offices functioned with half-closed shutters. As a precautionary measure, Deputy Commissioner SBBommanahalli had declared a holiday for schools and colleges.

The North West Karnataka Road Transport Corporation and private bus operators stopped the services following the bandh call. It was only after 6 pm that buses started operating.

People extended generous support to the bandh in Gadag district. The protesters blocked the the Vijayapura-Hubballi national highway and burnt tyres to register their anger against the government for the delay in solving the issue.

They threw stones on a petrol tanker as the driver did not stop the vehicle at the protest venue. Traders expressed their support by closing their business establishments voluntarily.

Busy junctions, market places and cinema halls wore a deserted look due to the absence of people. Members of Jaya Karnataka Sanghatane took out a bike rally from Hescom office to Gandhi Circle.

Farmers blocked the national highway at Kudalasangama and the Vijayapura-Belagavi highway at Mudhol in Bagalkot district, demanding an immediate solution to the Mahadayi problem.

The bandh evoked mixed response in Belagavi district. A near total bandh was observed in Bailhongal, Kittur, Ramdurg and Savadatti taluks. Markets remained closed and buses were off the roads.

Heavy police bandobust was made to prevent untoward incidents in all the four districts. Protests were also held in Haveri and Hosapete, Ballari district.

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