Protests over the Cauvery water dispute gained momentum on Friday with Kannada outfits planning several high-voltage rallies in the city even as the state government briefed a Central team on the water storage levels in reservoirs.
Former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa is scheduled to begin a day-long dharna against the Prime Minister-chaired Cauvery River Authority’s order to Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu daily.
The state government this morning briefed a central team that has arrived to assess the ground realities. Chief secretary SV Ranganath and senior officials of water resources and agriculture ministries explained to the four-member team on the water storage levels in reservoirs in the backdrop of deficient rainfall and drinking water needs of Bangalore.
The four-member team later left for Mysore to study the situation in the Cauvery basin. They are slated to visit Krishna Raja Sagara dam and Hemavathi river besides aerial suvey of Kabini and Harangi rivers. Karnataka Rakshna Vedike is holding a procession from National College Grounds to Freedom Park. JD is also organising a separate procession in the city to protest the CRA ruling.
The protests, largely confined to Cauvery basin districts so far, are likely to lead to traffic snarls in parts of Bangalore today, police warned.
The study team led by Central Water Commission (CWC) Director BP Pandey will be visiting various villages in Mandya district, KRS, Hemavathy and Kabini reservoirs. Cauvery Hitarakshana Samithi President G Madegowda resumed his relay hunger strike for the second successive day and stated the stir would continue till the water release was stopped. He said the Samithi will not allow political outfits to derive mileage out of the agitation and added those who want to take part should quit their post.
While Gowda hit out at four central ministers representing Karnataka for the apathy towards the Cauvery water issue, BJP rebel leader Yeddyurappa blamed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the ongoing agitation. The Prime Minister has ordered release of water to Tamil Nadu without assessing the situation in drought batterred Karnataka, thus meting out step motherly treatment to the state, he accused.
Traffic blockade was witnessed in various parts of the city due to the processions, with protesters raising slogans against the BJP government and also against the Centre.
Meanwhile, Executive Engineer of Krishnaraja Sagar reservoir Vijay Kumar said the water level at KRS on Friday stood at 107.71ft as gainst the full level of 124.80ft.
Police have thrown tight security cover around KRS dam.