Cauvery Issue: Understanding why Bengaluru was burnt

The Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal was formed twenty-six years ago to settle the water dispute tussle between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Seventeen years after its formation, in 2007, the Tribunal came out with its final verdict. It pronounced that Tamil Nadu would be entitled to 12 km³ of water from the Cauvery river, while Karnataka should legally receive 7.6 km³ of water from the river. At that point in time, Karnataka was releasing only 5.6 km³ of water to the feuding neighbor.

Protests erupted in the state of Karnataka, with a state-wise bandh called by the Kannada Rakshana Vedike, a self-confessed pro-Kannadiga group, supported by 30-odd powerful trade unions. The bandh steeped into sectarian violence, with every social entity,  from corner kiosks to million-dollar information technology enterprises, being shut down. Air and train services were disrupted, buses were burnt, bringing the state to a standstill. While the political games continued, monsoon came to the rescue of Tamil Nadu, putting an interim break to public agitation over the issue.

Nine years have passed and the stalemate continues, with both the states refusing to budge or give in. After reassuming power for the second consecutive time, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa filed a petition on behalf of the state in August this year with the Supreme Court, urging Karnataka to release water as per mandate. The Supreme Court (SC) in response to the petition ordered that Karnataka release water and said that the Karnataka government should “live and let live.” Karnataka, though dissatisfied, complied with the order and started releasing water, but on the other hand, pressure from the political circles and the public mounted.

The Karnataka Chief Minister Siddharamaiah filed a petition with the SC to stay the order. While the SC refused to stay the order, it reduced water to be released from 15,000 cusecs to 12,000 cusecs. This leads to a repeat of 2007.

Mobs attacked businesses with Tamil Names in Bengaluru. Over 30 busses of the private bus operator KPN were burnt down. Violence also erupted on the Bengaluru-Mysuru Highway.

“The first incident of arson was reported from NICE road, Electronics City around 11.30am when miscreants set a goods truck of Tamil Nadu registraion on fire. Four more trucks, all from Tamil Nadu, were set ablaze in Nayandanahalli Junction and a mob attacked policemen who tried to stop them,” read a Times of India report. In retaliation, the police opened fire, and two people have reportedly lost their lives in the violence that ensued.

The Central government sent around 1,000 anti-riot personnel and around 10 companies of Border Security Force and Indo-Tibetian border police to both the states. While Siddharamaiah and his counterpart J.Jayalalithaa wrote angry letters to each other, Section 144 was imposed in Bengaluru city, Mandya, Mysuru, Srirangapatna and near four dams in the Cauvery basin.

On the other side of the border, people from Karnataka were mobbed, businesses operated by people from the state vandalized. Memes and posts against Sandalwood actors went viral, and petrol bombs were hurled at a popular restaurant under the Udupi banner in Chennai.

Over the years, nature of monsoon alone has given the people from both the states a break from continuing the violence. Important questions arise from this socio-political issue that has created an “uneasy disposition” in both the states. History traces those incidents of mob violence as uncontrollable only when it has been planned by institutions of authority. Are the parties in power refusing to sit down to settle the stalemate, in a bid to gain political sympathy?

War over water politics

The violent protest over the water politics that the country is witnessing today traces its origin way back in 1892. A dispute between the Madras Presidency (under the British Raj) and the Princely state of Mysore turned into a major issue when they came up to the terms with sharing the river water between the two states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Since that day, Cauvery water has been a bone of contention between the Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. In the year 1910, both the states decided on the construction of dams on the Cauvery River.

The issue that originated decades back kept troubling the regions of both the states as few years after the decision on water sharing was taken, Karnataka stopped the release of water to Tamil Nadu which led to the waste of many crops and thus problem begin to rise again. At this time the Tamil Nadu government led by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa sued the Karnataka government for contempt of court.

There was no fire between the two states until this year September 5, when the issue of water sharing came into the limelight again. With the Supreme Court deciding on releasing 15,000 cusecs daily to Tamil Nadu the fire within the state of Karnataka has escalated. This not only led to the breakdown of a huge mass protest but has also left the state to standstill.

The disproportionate ratio of water sharing between the states that led to the lack of clarity on sharing the Cauvery waters in  years when the state suffers from lack of proper monsoon lies becomes the heart of the tussle that ignites the initial fire every now and again between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

According to Karnataka Law Minister T B Jayachandra, the reservoirs in the Cauvery basin in Karnataka has the capacity to reserve only about 51 tmc of water at present, the people of state feels this quantity of water to be sufficient only to meet the need of the drinking water for the people in south Karnataka and not enough for release to Tamil Nadu.

“When the monsoon does not deliver to its full potential, neighbours turn foes in the Cauvery River basin in south India.” said Jayachandra. Over the last few years Tamil Nadu has become heavily dependent on the Cauvery River. Most of the agricultural land built in the region was near the river and thus most of the livelihood was totally dependent on Cauvery River. Today these poor farmers are arguing that their livelihood would get seriously affected if there happens to be a change in the distribution of water all of a sudden.

As per a report released on February 5, 2007 the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) had ordered Karnataka to release 192 tmc of water to Tamil Nadu during regular monsoon, which the state failed to do. And following this came up the Supreme Court’s verdict, the Cauvery water-sharing row that turned the whole frame into more devastating. The verdict has escalated resulting in mass protests and bandhs called by pro-Kannada leaders across the two states. Many buses had remained stranded over the past few days, which were once used to be full with crowd. This is not the ultimate scenario of the water war.

The state is today witnessing some sporadic incidents of attacks may it be on the people or on a hotel. Following this the agitation within the individual souls have turned so worst that there are also reports of pelting of stones, ruckus at a bank and attacks on vehicles from both the States. Nevertheless to bring down the situation to a notch below the Supreme Court has modified its order and has redirected Karnataka to release 10,000 cusecs a day till September 20.

But has this step finally brought some relief to the problems which both the states were witnessing till today? The answer still remains unclear, no improvement as such has happened over the last few days but rather the situation has worsened and with that the future of the farmers is again under question.


Karnataka facing the brunt of the all-India ‘bandh’

As the nation prepares itself for Fridays’ big strike announced by the trade union, concerns are rising among the common people due to the unavailability of public transport. The strike largely affects the office goers who will be unable to report at their workplaces. With the Auto and Cab drivers complying with the strike, people are losing out on alternate transportation options.

Karnataka is joining the states which are supporting the strike called by the union traders. Friday’s strike will mark to fifth such incident in the past couple of months which saw a halt in the public transportation. Earlier, such strikes were a rare phenomenon, but lately, with the growing number if such incidents, Karnataka seems to be following the likes of West Bengal (Bengal) and Kerala in the frequency of trade union strikes. Bangalore, the capital of Karnataka is one of the fastest growing cities in the country in the recent past. With the IT boom, Bangalore has managed to get the country’s GDP growing at a very fast pace but with the recent instances of strikes, Bangalore also seems to be facing a severe beating.

Various firms which need employees to be working during the nationwide strike are now making arrangements for the commute of the essential staff to the workspace. HRs of firms are now drawing lists in order to figure out the indispensable employees which have to report to the office. Many offices have extended the option of working from for the employees, keeping in mind the inconvenience and safety issues.

Bangalore was a booming industrial city in Karnataka because it did not get affected by the various political conflicts and the tiff with the union. With the growing cases of strikes in the state, Karnataka is losing out on capital and industrialists and IT firms might soon retreat from the state just like in the case of the communist dominant states of Kerala and Bengal. Contrarily, The West Bengal Chief Minister has refrained from complying with the Friday strike.

The union members do have a fair right to call a strike to meet their demands and negotiating with the government but the incidents of violence during this period is the biggest cause of concern. In many cities across the nation, cabs and other vehicles on the road have been destructed.  These incidents also expose the lack of adequate policing and that a handful of people are trying to exploit the situation in their favour.

With the shutting down of the country, huge losses will be incurred by the economy. According to industry experts, the city is set to lose hundreds of crores if it comes to a standstill and a day-long strike will zero out on a day’s revenue which otherwise ranges from Rs120-140 crore. Bangalore primarily is a service based industrial city and the bandh will not be of any gain as it is mainly associated with those who are in the manufacturing sector.

Strikes are one of the major reason due to which the country has failed to establish a strong industrial hold and now due to the trade union’s efforts to show power and disrupt hierarchy, the city is suffering a great deal. Brand Bangalore is now at stake due to the blackmailing tactics used by the trade union members and the support of counterproductive measures by the state government for political gains. In this situation, the city is facing adversities and bleeds of its revenues.

Source: TOI  Navbharat Times

Jaitley inaugurates Invest Karnataka, praises state

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, while inaugurating the three-day Invest Karnataka event in Bangalore said that while unpredictability and vulnerability has become the norm of global economy, India has remained “relatively unimpacted” by the crises.

“The world faces a very difficult and challenging situation… In the global situation, India is being distinctively noticed,” said the Finance Minister.

He praised Karnataka for focusing on inclusive development, and added that the state is in a position to achieve 2 to 3 per cent higher growth rate as compared to the national average. He also assured the cooperation of the Central government to help Karnataka achieve the same. According to NASSCOM, Bengaluru alone attributes 38 per cent of the total revenue from IT exports of India. Karnataka’s IT exports alone amounts to $27 billion, and according to the state, has one of the fastest growing economies in the country, with 7 per cent Gross Domestic Product. He urged the government to ease laws for manufacturing sector, to further boost growth.

In its fourth edition of global investment meet, Karnataka expects to gain an investment worth one lakh crore, said a statement released by the government.

Business heads like Azim Premji, Narayana Murthy, Kumaramangalam Birla, Anil Ambani, Gautam Adani, were all present at the inauguration.


SOURCES: Financial ExpressNew Indian Express

Roaring No.1 in India – Karnataka with 406 tigers

With Karnataka’s success in tiger conservation steps, they have now surpassed themselves with 406 tigers, according to the census report released by the Wildlife Institute of India. Uttarakhand, however stands on the second position with 340 tigers, and has had a whooping success in tiger conservation from possessing 227 tigers to 349.

To this, Director Samir Sinha of Corbett Tiger Reserve said, “There has been an encouraging rise in tiger population in Uttarakhand. It has risen from 227 to 340 since the last census. This is all the more creditable given the fact that the hill State has just one tiger reserve.”

Although Karnataka has always been leading with tiger population in India, this has been a boost to the overall conservation of tigers. The last census reported that the total population of Tigers in India stands at 2,226 marking a significant rise of 30 per cent since 2010.

Protected areas like the Male Mahadeshwara (MM Hills) Wildlife Sanctuary and Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary had been omitted from the census report as according to a statement by a leading daily.

These sanctuaries traditionally did not possess any tiger population. Nevertheless, once a scientific analysis of 1,933 sq km was done through camera-trapping, it revealed that there exists a healthy number of tigers in Male Mahadeshwara (MM Hills) Wildlife Sanctuary and Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary. While in Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary there are two tigers, the Male Mahadeshwara (MM Hills) Wildlife Sanctuary consists of 12 tigers.

Sanjay Gubbi, a wildlife biologist and main author of the study by the Nature Conservation Foundation, explained a leading daily that the probability of increase in their numbers is high and that their population in those areas, is likely to double in the coming five years.

This study was released by HS Mahadeva Prasad, Karnataka minister for cooperation and sugar, who further on declared consideration of the proposal to announce these areas as a new tiger reserve.

Source: DNA

IEBI to introduce mainstream education along with religious studies

In a major development on Wednesday, the newly formed Islamic Educational Board of India (IEBI) – Karnataka declared to introduce mainstream education along with religious studies from the next academic year.

As a vital step towards changing the syllabi in nearly 10,000 madrasas across the State, the board has decided that the IEBI will now monitor the activities in the madrasas and will implement guidelines of both Islamic and academic syllabi and instil values of Islam as a peace loving and a tolerant religion.

The newly formed board will have leaders of prominent Muslim bodies representing Sunnis, Sufis and 10 other organisations as the board monitors.

President of IEBI Sultan Sheik Abdul Khader said, “Madrasas are in a state of dissent as there are no prescribed syllabi, especially in Karnataka. Following the successful model of the syllabus in Kerala, we are working on bringing in changes in our state syllabus which will inculcate values of Islam to its students educating them that Islam never promotes violence. Terrorism is un-Islamic and anti-Islamic, and has no religion.”

Adding to this, he also mentioned that the newly formed board will devise the syllabus from zero level to class 12 in English, Urdu, Kannada, Malayalam and other Indian languages uniformly throughout all the Madrasas.

The board will also bring in trained teachers from across the country. Khader said that, the teachers will be first trained for one to three months in order to learn how to impart such a combined form of education. Almost 25,000 teachers are expected to join by next year.


IEBI will introduce mainstream education along with religious studies from next academic year Image source:
IEBI will introduce mainstream education along with religious studies from next academic year
Image source:


Y Bhaskar Rao resigns as Karnataka’s Lokayukta

Bengaluru: Justice Y. Bhaskar Rao, Karnataka’s anti- corruption ombudsman or Lokayukta, rendered his resignation to Governor Vajubhai Rudabhai Vala on Monday. Raj Bhavan sources told NDTV that the resignation was accepted “with immediate effect”. The resignation was a result of allegations made by many quarters, including former Lokayukta, Justice Santosh Hegde.

The allegations were triggered when Mr. Rao’s son, Ashwin Rao was arrested by the Special Investigations Team (SIT) in July this year, for alleged extortion and usage of information from the Lokayukta office. He allegedly demanded bribes and threatened to undertake Lokayukta raids.

The State government,in order to make the removal of the ombudsman easier, made amendments to the Lokayukta Act, adhering to growing calls for his dismissal.As per the amended law, one third of the legislators from either house and present a signed motion to the head of the house, in order to initiate the removal of the Lokayukta.

Mr. Rao was on leave from July 27, after his son’s arrest. His leave officially ends on December 17.

News source:

Y. Bhaskar Rao steps down as Karnataka's Lokayukta Image source:
Y. Bhaskar Rao steps down as Karnataka’s Lokayukta
Image source: