Farmers protested against the supply of water to Tamil Nadu.

Cauvery protests break out Ktaka farmers block Bengaluru-Mysuru highway
news Cauvery protests Sunday, July 02, 2017 - 18:47

The protest against the Karnataka government’s move to release water from Krishna Raja Sagar Dam to Tamil Nadu continued in Mandya taluk on Sunday. 

Angry farmers blocked the Bengaluru-Mysuru Highway at Gajalagere and Ilavala villagesi for over two hours, throwing traffic out of gear. 

The protestors accused the Karnataka government and the Cauvery Neeravari Nigama Limited of neglecting Karnataka farmers and supplying surplus water to Tamil Nadu, at a time when the state was reeling under a severe drought.

"Traffic was affected for a while after farmers blocked Bengaluru-Mysuru highway. They were protesting against release of Cauvery water from KRS Dam to Tamil Nadu," Mandya Additional Superintendent of Police B N Lavanya said.

Farmers refused to budge and blamed the government for not coming up with a solution to increase the dam’s capacity, she added.

Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited executive engineer K Basavaraje Gowda told TNM that 2,000 cusecs of water had been released from the dam on Sunday, while 3,000 cusecs were released on the night of June 29. “This knowledge angered the farmers, who have historically been against supplying water to Tamil Nadu,” he added.

On June 30, farmers associations and pro-Karnataka outfits staged protests in Mysuru, Mandya and some farmers had got down to the bathing ghat at Srirangapattana and refused to come out of the water until the government offered an explanation to the reason behind the supply of excess water.

They had also demanded that the Neeravari Nigama not supply water to Tamil Nadu as farmers in Karnataka are struggling with drought. 

The farmers’ association leader, G Madegowda had also threatened to beat up the Neeravari Nigama officials if they did not stop the supply of water.

This protest continued as the Irrigation Department officials tried to shut down the protests by saying that the water was being released for supply to Bengaluru city and not Tamil Nadu.

“They lied by saying water was being supplied to Bengaluru but they were actually supplying it to Tamil Nadu. Today, the Cauvery Neeravari Nigama Ltd officials themselves said that water was being releasaed to Tamil Nadu even before the dam was full. We will not stop until proper assurances are given that Karnataka farmers will get water first,” Madegowda added.

However, the protestors eventually agreed to stop the protests after Irrigation Minister MB Patil told them that the government was adhering to the Supreme Court orders and supplying the water which was due.

“Karnataka was not able to supply the prescribed water to Tamil Nadu as the dam had reached dead storage before the monsoon. We only released the water that was owed,” Minister Patil added.

 Basavaraje Gowda said that Karnataka has been directed to supply 20,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu by the apex court.

The farmers said that they will wait for the government’s plan of action for a day and if nothing materialises, they would continue protesting on July 4.

Karnataka witnessed massive protests over the Cauvery issue last September, with attacks on Tamil establishments.