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September 2023

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Hubballi / Dharwad

Karnataka farmers to re-launch agitation on Mahadayi river project

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Bengaluru, Aug 8: The farmers in Karnataka farmers have decided to re-launch the agitation on the project on river Mahadayi — popularly known as Kalasa Banduri Project. The Central government has approved the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the Kalasa-Bhanduri project in December 2022.

The people of the northern Karnataka region have been demanding and agitating for the implementation of the project for three decades.

The project is expected to end the water crisis in major districts of northern Karnataka region. The decision was hailed as a shot in the arm for the BJP in the state ahead of assembly elections. It was announced a few months ahead of the 2023 Karnataka Assembly polls.

Then chief minister Basavaraj Bommai had stated that “this was the commitment of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government at the Centre towards the development of the state”.

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“I am happy… 30 years of struggle is being won. It is a victory for north Karnataka farmers,” he had said, adding: “I will call for the tender as early as possible,” he had then said. Bommai had also said the issues related to forest, hydrology and other inter-state matters were cleared.

However, with the BJP facing defeat in the assembly elections and the neighbouring Goa government opposing the implementation of the project, the farmers are concerned over the promises made by the previous BJP government in this regard.

The Central government had given a one-year extension to the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal for submission of further report in July 2023.

The tribunal was originally required to submit its findings within three years from its Constitution, but due to various reasons, the deadline has been extended multiple times.

The farmers have been dubbing the announcements of the previous BJP government as “false promises aimed at electoral gains”.

The farmers in Dharwad district held a meeting in this backdrop at the Vidyavardhaka Sangha. The agitation for demanding the project had witnessed major violence in the region earlier.

The farmer leaders slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for failing to resolve the issues when the BJP was in power in Goa and Karnataka. The majority of farmers urged to relaunch the massive agitation for the project. Political analysts believe the decision will directly impact the results of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

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