Former prime minster HD Deve Gowda hit the road on Tuesday to lead a huge silent protest march in the city, demanding that the Centre does not notify the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal (CWDT) award.
Gowda, with hundreds of his party workers and supporters, marched from Bannappa Park to Freedom Park with a black cloth tied across his mouth. He walked enthusiastically even as the sun was blazing mercilessly and staged a dharna at Freedom Park.
The Supreme Court has already directed the Centre to issue the notification on CWDT award before February 20. Gowda opined that it was the duty of the Union government to explain the ground realities in the Cauvery basin of Karnataka to convince the apex court that it is against the interest of Karnataka to release water to Tamil Nadu.
He strongly criticised the state government for releasing water to Tamil Nadu as all the four reservoirs in the Cauvery basin in Karnataka are almost depleted.
“The Centre should conduct an expert study on the available water in state reservoirs, state’s water needs till next monsoon season and other aspects before contemplating to issue the notification. The Centre should seek state government’s stand before issuing the notification. Any decision to issue the notification ignoring the state’s views could harm the federal system of our country,” Gowda said.
Denying any political motives behind his protest march, Gowda said he was compelled to hit the road even at the age of 86 as he could not sit and watch the farmers suffering, people of Bangalore and Mysore facing the fear of going without drinking water in the coming days.
“I have given a few valuable suggestions to the state government in filing a review petition before the Supreme Court to safeguard the interests of the state... I will continue the fight to get justice for the people of Karnataka,” he said.
Gowda’s daughter-in-law and JD(S) MLA Anitha Kumaraswamy, party MP Cheluvarayaswamy and others took part in the protest.