The farmers of Mandya, who are on an indefinite strike demanding that water be released, tried to barge into the premises of Krishna Raja Sagar (KRS) Dam and lock it down. Led by Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha President Darshan Puttanaiah, hundreds of farmers marched from the Cauvery Neeravari Nigama Limited office in Mandya to the KRS Dam.
Security was heightened at the dam and the police officials stopped the protesters from locking down the damâ€™s gates. The security personnel deployed outside the dam spoke to the protestors and demanded that they leave the area.
Darshan Puttanaiah and farmer leaders Badagalapura Nagendra and Suresh tried to lock down the dam and were detained by the police.
The farmers began their protest seven days ago were camped outside the Cauvery Neeravari Nigama Limited office demanding water for irrigation canals to save the crops they have already planted. â€śRight before the elections, the state government had released water in the irrigation canals and we had reason to plant our crops. Now farmers of Mandya have taken loans to sow crops, which need water to sustain. If the government does not release water, the crops will fail. Now the government is saying that the Cauvery Water Management Authority must decide. Did the government not release water during elections when it suited them? Did they ask the authorityâ€™s permission back then?â€ť Darsha Puttanaiah questioned.
The farmers challenged Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy and said that they would not allow him to step foot into Mandya.
â€śChief Minister Kumaraswamy, you were walking around in Mandya very frequently. If you do not meet our demands, we will see how youâ€™ll step foot into Mandya again. When we come to you with our problems, you ask us to go to Delhi to protest. We elected you so you can solve our problems. You should be the one taking up our issues in New Delhi. Why are you not doing your job?â€ť Badagalapura Nagendra said.
The farmers shouted slogans against the Mandya district-in-charge minister and JD(S) leader CS Puttaraju for not resolving their issues.
On Thursday, CS Puttaraju had called on former MP and Ritha Hitharakshana Samithi Chairman G Made Gowda to seek his advice on the matter. However, Made Gowda insisted that the government must write to Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) apprising it on the situation of the farmers
Speaking to the media Water Resource Minister DK Shivakumar said that the decision is not in the hands of the state government and that the CWMA must take a call on the matter. Shivakumar said that the Karnataka government had written to the CWMA multiple times apprising the authority of the farmersâ€™ plight.
â€śThe days where the government could make such decisions are over. Now Cauvery Water Management Authority must decide. Currently the inflow of water stands at 1 TMC water. Tamil Nadu too has requested the release of water. We must wait till the CWMA decides. Our government is also beginning initiatives to educate farmers about the kind of cash crops that can be grown based on the availability of water. The days where sugarcane cultivation could take place twice a year are gone because there is shortage of water. Our government is trying to educate the farmers in this regard too,â€ť DK Shivakumar said.