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Bengaluru bandh over Cauvery row: BMTC buses to remain operational, auto drivers on strike

26 Sep 2023

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], September 26 (ANI): All routes of Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) will be operational as usual on Tuesday in view of the bandh called by farmer bodies to protest against an order by Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) to release 5000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu.

The announcement was made by BMTC on X (formerly Twitter).

Visuals showed buses with few passengers onboard leaving from the Majestic BMTC Bus stop in the city.

Manju, a bus conductor, told ANI, "As bandh has been called, no commuters are seen at Kempegowda bus stop, which is usually one of the busiest bus stops in the state."Police personnel have reportedly been deployed in Bengaluru's Cottonpete to maintain law and order. All the shops are closed except those providing essential services.

Farmer bodies, Kannada organisations, and opposition parties have called for a 'Bandh' today in the city to protest against the order of the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) directing the state to release 5000 cusecs of water to its neighbouring state, Tamil Nadu, for 15 days, effective September 13.

Meanwhile, Bengaluru Urban District Collector KA Dayanand has announced a public holiday for all schools and colleges in the city in view of the Bandh on Tuesday.

Bengaluru Police Commissioner, B Dayananda, said that Section 144 will be imposed in the city, under which gatherings of more than five people will not be permitted.

Meanwhile, protests have been planned at Freedom Park, Raj Bhawan, and Town Hall by pro-Kannada organisations.

However, the Police Commissioner warned that protests would only be allowed in Freedom Park.

Cabs will be plying as usual in the city. Ola Uber Drivers and Owners Association president Tanveer Pasha said that Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation, Ola, and Uber services will be as usual.

However, restaurants will remain closed in the city, President Bangalore Hoteliers Association PC Rao said, adding, "It's our duty; we are also supporting the Karnataka bandh called tomorrow (by pro-Kannada organisations), as we have not gotten justice for several years".

Meanwhile, it has also come to the fore that auto drivers are supporting the strike and they are charging a lot more than usual. A commuter from Maharashtra was reportedly asked to pay 300-500 rupees for 12 kilometres.

"We support the bandh called by various organisations. When the Cauvery water issue comes up, we have a very clear stand: Karnataka will not provide water to anyone. Only night drivers are here; autos will not run today; we will support the band," said Naseer Khan, an auto driver at Majestic BMTC Bus Stop, Bengaluru.

To avoid inconvenience to the passengers, Airline Vistara on Tuesday issued a travel update asking people to plan their rides to and from the airport with caution since private transport might be disrupted.

"Due to the 'Bengaluru Bandh' on September 26, 2023, private transport might be disrupted. Customers travelling from Bangalore are advised to allow more time for their journey to the airport," the airline said in a post on 'X'.

Speaking on the bandh, BJP leader C T Ravi said, "Our State Party Chief and BS Yediyurappa declared support. We will support it and with it, we will also protest in front of the Gandhi statue."Janata Dal-Secular (JDS) MP HD Deve Gowda on Monday, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requested a team of experts to study the water and standing crop situation in Karnataka.

"I have made an appeal to the PM about the prevailing situation. In my letter to the PM, I wrote that the Jal Shakti department should file a review petition and a committee of experts should be sent to Karnataka to study the water and standing crop situation. I requested the same to the Vice President of the country," the ex-PM said in a joint press briefing with JD(S) leader and former CM HD Kumaraswamy. (ANI)

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