Tamil Nadu on Thursday witnessed a bandh led by DMK and other opposition parties over Cauvery water dispute, a matter that has gained pitch in both the houses of Parliament. While DMK working President MK Stalin was at the forefront of protests in Tamil Nadu on Thursday, poll-bound Karnataka also called for a state bandh on April 12. The two states have pitched up their battle over the water-sharing issue, accusing Centre of delaying and not taking the Supreme Court’s order seriously.
The top court had in February asked the Centre to resolve the water sharing dispute affecting south Indian states. The top court had, in its February 16 order, asked the Centre to formulate a scheme for dividing the river’s waters among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
In February, the apex court had modified the 2007 verdict on the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) — an agency it had constituted in 1990 — and increased Karnataka’s share of Cauvery waters at the cost of Tamil Nadu. The Court asked the Centre to formulate a “scheme” within six weeks.
However, a day after the court’s March 29 deadline for the formulation of a “scheme” passed, the Centre sought a three-month extension, citing the Assembly elections in Karnataka.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court had asked both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to avoid a parochial outlook and engage in a constructive dialogue with Centre. Despite this, both the states have been protesting over the issue that has been one of the factors disrupting the working of Rajya Sabha– the others being the Nirav Modi bank fraud, agrarian distress, the order on the SC/ST Act, the anti-draft bill, and special category status for Andhra Pradesh.
With just two more days of the budget session to go, Cauvery water dispute is going to hold a lot of space with AIADMK and TDP members storming into the well of the house.
Tamil Nadu shutdown affects normal life
On Thursday, a DMK-called shutdown paralysed normal life in Tamil Nadu. The bandh was called over he Centre’s failure to set up a Cauvery Management Board (CMB). Opposition parties also held protests across Tamil Nadu, and slammed the Narendra Modi government for ‘bias’. Hundreds of protestors belonging to DMK, Congress, CPI, CPI-M, MDMK, VCK and farmers were taken into police custody across the state.
DMK leader MK.Stalin led a massive procession comprising members from his party and his allies, on the arterial Anna Salai to Marina Beach affecting traffic flow. He was accompanied by Tamil Nadu Congress leader S. Thirunavukkarasar.Speaking to reporters before being taken away by the police, Stalin said the strike was successful and thanked all those who cooperated.
In Chennai, very few government buses were plying on the roads while autorickshaws stayed off. But radio taxis were available. Suburban and long distance train services were also being operated as usual, a Southern Railway official told IANS.
However, six suburban trains were held up at the Avadi point here, the official said. There were brief protests on the rail tracks in Salem and Tirunelvelli.
Protests in Parliament
The Lower House has witnessed protests by AIADMK members over their demand for immediate setting up of Cauvery Management Board, leading to adjournments for the past 21 days since second leg of the budget session began on March 5.
On Thursday, noisy protests by AIADMK members seeking setting up of the Cauvery water management board saw the House being adjourned for the day.