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Karnataka Faces Disruption Amid Water Crisis Shutdown

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Life in Karnataka, a state in southern India, came to a grinding halt on Friday due to a shutdown organized in protest of water being released from the Cauvery River to neighboring Tamil Nadu. The impact of the shutdown was felt across various sectors, with transportation and air services severely affected, and educational institutions closed. In response to the situation, additional police forces were deployed to maintain law and order in the state.

The disruption caused by the shutdown extended to Bengaluru International Airport, where a total of 44 flights to and from the airport had to be canceled, affecting travel plans for many passengers. While the shutdown was primarily peaceful, there were reports of farmer organizations staging protests in Bengaluru against the release of Cauvery River water to Tamil Nadu.

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Doddalahalli Kempegowda Shivakumar assured the public that the shutdown was peaceful, with no untoward incidents reported. He emphasized that the authorities had provided full protection to everyone during the protest.

The primary demand of the protesting farmers was the immediate halt to the release of water, citing the prevailing drought conditions in Karnataka. Their opposition stemmed from the Supreme Court’s decision not to intervene in the enforcement of water-sharing agreements between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, as well as decisions made by the Cauvery Water Management Authority and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee.

The Cauvery Water Regulation Committee had permitted Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs (equivalent to 85 cubic meters per second) of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu from September 28 to October 15. This decision was met with resistance from Karnataka, where concerns about water scarcity during drought conditions took precedence.

The ongoing dispute over water-sharing between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu has a long history, and tensions periodically flare up, leading to protests and disruptions in both states. The issue is a complex one, and resolving it requires a delicate balance between the water needs of the two states and the broader concerns about drought and agricultural livelihoods.

As the shutdown in Karnataka unfolded, it once again highlighted the critical importance of water resources in India and the challenges of managing them in a fair and equitable manner. Water scarcity is a pressing issue in many parts of the country, and disputes over water location are not uncommon.

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