Congress begins Mekedatu padayatra despite COVID curbs

News Network
January 9, 2022


The Congress in Karnataka on Sunday began its 10 days 'padayatra' (march), demanding implementation of the Mekedatu project across the Cauvery river, despite the government's COVID-19 restrictions. Led by Congress' state president D K Shivakumar and Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly Siddaramaiah, the padayatra with the theme 'Namma Neeru Namma Hakku' (Our water, Our right) began at the Sangama, the confluence of Cauvery and Arkavathi rivers in Kanakapura here, which will be spanning a distance of over 100 km.

With participation from hundreds of workers, leaders and cultural groups, the principal opposition party in the state is going ahead with the march, as planned, unfazed by the government's warning of action in case of violation of COVID restrictions and rules.

It now remains to be seen what action will the government take, with a large number of people gathering in violation of rules and orders.

The Karnataka government has imposed a curfew on weekends and restricted public gatherings to fight the third wave of COVID-19, till January 19. It has also imposed night curfew, and has prohibited all rallies, dharnas, protests, among others.

Congress has maintained that it will hold the padayatra following COVID rules and guidelines

Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Shivakumar, Siddaramaiah, former Chief Minister Veerappa Moily, and almost all the senior party leaders and legislators were present at the inaugural of the padayatra, that is likely to cove a distance of about 15 km on the day one.

Some religious leaders and film personalities like actor Duniya Vijay, actor and music director Sadhu Kokila, were among others seen at the inaugural.

Projecting it as an apolitical "Walk for Water," the Congress has invited seers of various mutts, organisations, leaders of various political parties, film personalities, Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, among others to take part in the march.

Accusing the BJP government of trying to scuttle the padayatra, Siddaramaiah accused the ruling BJP of colluding with Tamil Nadu in delaying the implementation of Mekedatu project.

Claiming that the project was initiated by the Congress government led by him, he alleged that the ruling BJP has betrayed the people of the state by not getting environmental clearance despite being in power for last 2.5 years, and even accused the central government of not giving clearance, as the saffron party wants to expand its base in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

"This padayatra is for getting water to Bengaluru and surrounding areas by implementing Mekedatu project, there is no stay for the project by courts or tribunals or Cauvery Water Management Authority.....Our padayatra will not stop, let how much ever the BJP try to stop it," he added.

Shivakumar, who is also MLA from Kanakapura, hitting out at Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai for trying to "thwart" the padayatra by asking the district administration to issue prohibitory orders, he dared him to arrest them if he could.

"This march is not for the Congress party or for the sake of power, it is for the sake of the people.... Like Congress fought against the British then for India's freedom, today we are fighting against BJP and Janata Dal.... SP (Superintendent of Police), Home Minister- you have issued orders against the law, we will not fear it....we will peacefully march following COVID rules," he added.

The Congress' march from Mekedatu to Bengaluru, covering about 15 of the 224 Assembly constituencies in the state, is demanding implementation of the Mekedatu project, which is being opposed by neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

Beginning at Sangama the padayatra is scheduled to pass through Kanakapura, Ramanagara and Bidadi, before culminating at Basavanagudi in Bengaluru on January 19.

Though the padayatra is being projected as apolitical, demanding the implementation of Mekedatu project, it is also seen as Congress' attempt to mobilise its cadres and consolidate its voter base in the old Mysuru region, which is a Vokkaliga bastion, where JD(S) is its traditional rival and the ruling BJP is attempting to make inroads, ahead of 2023 assembly polls.

Much is at stake for Shivakumar, the man behind this march, as several Congress functionaries believe that it is an attempt by the KPCC chief, ahead of assembly polls, to assert his Chief Ministerial ambitions, for which Siddaramaiah is also a strong contender. The party has seen several incidents of political one-upmanship between the two leaders last year.

Shivakumar took a dip in the river and performed pooja at the Sangam ahead of the padayatra's inaugural.

Both ruling BJP and JD(S) have hit out Congress calling its march as a "political stunt" ahead of assembly election next year, and has questioned its morality, accusing the grand old party of not putting any efforts to take the project forward while in power.

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has maintained that his government was committed to implement the project.

Karnataka government submitted a Detailed Project Report (DPR) to the Central Water Commission (CWC) in 2019, which was then referred to the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA), where it is stuck currently as Tamil Nadu which is the lower riparian state, has opposed the project tooth and nail.

Karnataka has maintained that the project within its territory will benefit both states as the surplus water stored can be managed between the two during the distress year, and its implementation will in no way affect the interests of Tamil Nadu's farming communities, as there will be no impact on its share of water.

While the neighbouring state is of the view that the project would "impound and divert" the uncontrolled water flow due to Tamil Nadu from Kabini sub- basin, the catchment area below Krishnarajasagara, and also from Simsha, Arkavathy and Suvarnavathi sub-basins besides other small streams.

The Mekedatu multipurpose (drinking and power) project, which involves building a balancing reservoir, near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district of Karnataka.

The project once completed is aimed at ensuring drinking water to Bengaluru and neighbouring areas (4.75 TMC) and also can generate 400 MW power, and the estimated cost of the project is Rs 9,000 crore.


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June 30,2022


Manglauru, June 30: Heavy rains lashed the coastal city of Mangaluru and other parts of Dakshina Kannada district today leaving many roads and houses inundated. 

The rains have led to widespread damage including uprooting of trees and electric poles leading to power outages, waterlogging and traffic jams.

Many low-lying areas in the city witnessed artificial flood and water entered several houses, thus making it difficult for residents to come out of the house. 

Artificial floods occurred in areas like Pumpwell, Ambedkar Circle, Kodialguthu, Kottara Chowki, Attavar, PVS, Kadri Kambala, Adyar, Ekkur, Alake, Panjimogeru, Baikampady industrial area and other areas.

The Rail Under Bridge (RUB) at Padil was inundated, and caused inconvenience to the vehicle users. There was a huge traffic block on the stretch due to waterlogging.

Meanwhile, rainwater entered into the cellars of building complexes, housing shops and other business establishments, exposing the glaring deficiency and lack of proper sewerage system in the rapidly growing city.

An orange alert has been issued for coastal Karnataka, which has been receiving moderate to heavy rains for past few days. 

The meteorological department has predicted that coastal belt of Karnataka would receive maximum rainfall during this monsoon season.  

The rains prompted residents to take to social media to complain about potholes and flooding due to poor infrastructure and failing drainage systems.


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News Network
June 22,2022


Mangaluru, June 22: The southwest monsoon has gained momentum as all the three coastal districts - Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada and Udupi - are experiencing heavy showers for the past three days.

The intensity of rain increased considerably on Tuesday and it is expected to remain so till Wednesday. The Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre has sounded a red alert for the coastal districts for Wednesday and a yellow alert for the next four days.

The inclement weather played spoilsport to mass yoga demonstrations in all the three districts.

Incessant showers have left several residential areas and roads, including high church road, Nandanagadda and railway station road in Karwar flooded. The national highway 66 in front of Ravindranath Tagore beach and the state highway at Habbuwada were inundated with rainwater affecting the vehicular movement for hours. Heavy rain and strong winds battered coastal taluks of Uttara Kannada - Ankola, Kumta, Honnavar and Bhatkal - throughout the day.

Honnavar recorded 82 mm of rain in the last 24 hours (ending 8 am on Tuesday) followed by Karwar 71 mm and Kumta 59 mm.

Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts also witnessed intermittent spells of rain on Tuesday. Torrential showers have left Karavali Junction, Ambalpadi, Mudanidamburu flooded in Udupi. More than 20 electricity poles have been uprooted due to rain and strong winds in the district.

According to the weather department, the twin districts are most likely to witness heavy rain (up to 20.4 cm) till June 25. The met department has warned the fishermen not to venture into sea owing to high tides. Also, the people close to the coast and river mouth should relocate to a safer place, the IMD release said.

Kodagu district received moderate to heavy showers in the day. Parts of Malnad and north interior Karnataka also witnessed scattered rainfall.


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News Network
June 29,2022

New Delhi, June 29: The rupee depreciated 11 paise to a record low of 78.96 against the US dollar in opening trade on Wednesday, weighed down by persistent foreign capital outflows.

At the interbank foreign exchange, the rupee opened on a weak note at 78.86 against the American dollar, then lost ground to quote at 78.96—its all-time low level, registering a fall of 11 paise from the last close.

On Tuesday, the rupee plunged by 48 paise to close at record low of 78.85 against the US dollar.

The rupee opened weaker against the dollar on Wednesday as renewed focus on the weak economic outlook prompted losses on Asian currencies and shares, said Sriram Iyer, Senior Research Analyst at Reliance Securities.

"The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) could be present to curb volatility, but the strength of crude oil could cap appreciation bias," Iyer said, adding that the range for the rupee on Wednesday is 78.50-79.10.

The rupee has lost 1.87 per cent so far this month and has eroded a staggering 6.28 per cent since the start of this year.

Global oil benchmark Brent crude futures fell 0.88 per cent to $116.94 per barrel.

Meanwhile, the dollar index, which gauges the greenback's strength against a basket of six currencies, was trading 0.08 per cent lower at 104.42.

On the domestic equity market front, the 30-share Sensex was trading 474.05 points or 0.89 per cent lower at 52,703.40, while the broader NSE Nifty declined 137.75 points or 0.87 per cent to 15,712.45.

Foreign institutional investors were net sellers in the capital market on Tuesday as they offloaded shares worth ₹1,244.44 crore, as per stock exchange data.


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