Demanding implementation of the Kalasa-Banduri Nala and Mekedatu Dam projects so as to improve the drinking water supply, Kannada Okkoota – a federation of pro-Kannada organisations – has called for a statewide bandh on Saturday, 26 September.
The 12-hour bandh, from 6 am to 6 pm, is likely to affect normal life in several parts of Karnataka, including Bengaluru (Bangalore).
"We have declared a bandh from 6 am to 6 pm. What we are asking for is this: implementation of the Kalasa-Banduri project, linking the Mahadayi river, development of Uttara Karnataka, and finally, that farmers loans be waived," Citizen Matters quoted Kannada Okkuta President Vatal Nagaraj as saying.
The bandh has been supported by 1,080 associations, including All India Motor Transport Congress, Dr Raj Kumar Fans Association led by Sa Ra Govindu, Karnataka State Light Medium Goods Truck Owners Association, Bangalore Mirror reported.
Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners' Association, and state-owned road transport corporations like BMTC and KSRTC are also among the several associations that have extended their support to the Saturday bandh.
Nagaraj said that apart from the associations, political party Janata Dal (Secular) or JDS will also support the bandh and participate in the "peaceful protest" called by the pro-Kannada organisers.
Several activits and members of pro-Kannada organisations will stage a protest march from Town Hall Circle to Freedom Park at 10 am. Then, they will meet Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to hand over a memorandum of their demands. The protest march can lead to traffic jams on major routes.
What will remain shut in Bengaluru?
The bandh is likely to hit normal life in Bengaluru as public transport and autorickshaw associations have extended their support to the protest.
According to the latest reports, buses (BMTC and KSRTC) are likely to remain off the roads. Long distance buses (daytime) have been cancelled.
Autorickshaw drivers have expressed strong support to Karnataka bandh and have decided to remain off the roads. "The last bandh was over a national issue and some autos stayed on the roads, but this time it is about Karnataka. Every driver will support it," The Times of India quoted the Manjunath A, head of the Adarsha Auto Union, as saying.
Cabs are also likely to not run during the bandh hours. "Since 50% of the taxis don't run on Saturdays, so the difference might not be felt," said Radhakrishna Holla, general secretary of the Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners' Association.
Schools have also decided to remain shut as a precautionary measure. The Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka has requested the education department to declare Saturday (26 September) a holiday.
As hotel owners and vegetable traders have also extended support to the bandh called by Kannada Okkoota, many restaurants in Bengaluru is likely to remain closed on Saturday.
Banks will remain closed as it is the fourth Saturday of the month and according to the Reserve Bank of India's notification, the second and fourth Saturdays of every month will be a public holiday.
What will be unaffected by bandh?
Metro rails will remain operational on Saturday. Hospitals will remain open and people will be basic necessities like milk and water will be available.