The normal life in Bengaluru has been disrupted by the bandh called by pro-Kannada groups on 18 April. The state-wide protest has been called by the groups under the banner of 'Kannada Okkuta' over Tamil Nadu's opposition over the Mekedatu drinking project and to put pressure on the state goverment to implement the planned project at the earliest.

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Over 600 Kannada organisations are supporting the bandh with the backing of auto associations and various other unions. Hotels, restaurants, petrol bunks, and film industry have supported the bandh. Schools, colleges, IT companies, malls, goverment offices and all shops remain shut today.

Karnataka Bandh
A picture from the protests.IB Times India

Bus facilities have been hugely affected and taxi services have become the only means for people to travel in Bengaluru. Meru Taxi provides emergency services if booked in advance. However, hospital, medical shops and other essential services are not observing the bandh. In rest of Karnataka, the normal life has not been affected to a large extent.

Mekedatu Drinking Water Project
It is the drinking water project planned by the Karnataka Government to provide drinking water to Bengaluru and many regions around Cauvery basin. The Tamil Nadu government has opposed the project and their argument is that the project violates the final orders of Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal and it affects the interests of Tamil Nadu farmers. Below, we bring you latest live updates of the bandh. 

5.00 AM: Hotels and cinema halls open in the city. The service of public transporation too begins.

3.20 PM: Autorickshaw operations begin at various areas in the city.

3.00 PM: The protest comes to an end at Freedom Park. The leaders of the various Kannada groups head towards Chief Minister's office to submit the memorandum.

2.40 PM: Powerstar Puneet Rajkumar joins the protestors at Freedom along with actor Prem. 1000s of supporters have reached the venue.

2.00 PM: Even cab drivers does not want to take riske as majority off the cabs have remained off roads. Autorickshaws charge fancy amount.

1.45: Cops have taken 300 rowdy elements into preventive custody. 

1.40 PM: Usually busy roads are empty today due to bandh.

1:20 PM: Government will begin the construction of Mekedatu dam by the end of this year : MB Patil.

12.20 PM: MN Reddi. Bengaluru Commissioner, tweets that security has been beefed up and the protests are peaceful at this stage.  Requests people to call 100 in case of emergency.

12.00 PM: Kannada actor and politican Jaggesh leads a protest in Tumkur.
Karnataka Rakshana Vedike activist attack BESCOM office in Tumkur.

11.55 AM: The bandh receives massive response in Mysuru, Mandya and Chamrajnagar districts. But low response at coastal regions. 

11.50 AM: Transport minister Ramalingaa Reddy says that the transporation service will be pack from 3pm onwards.

11.45 AM: Cinema halls in Kempe Gowda road and multiplexes have called off all the shows in support to the bandh. However, malls and theatres will open in the evening. 

11.31 AM: The protest march has kick-started from Town Hall in the city and will end at the Freedom Park. Later, a delegation will be meeting Chief Minister Siddaramaiah to submit a memorandum to take up the project without delay.

11.00 AM: KR Market is completely shut but the flower sellers are operating their business like usual.

10.30 AM: The protests kick-start in Town Hall. An activist falls ill and he is taken to hospital for treatment.

10.00 AM: Kannada groups burn effigies of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and present Chief Minister Panveer Selvam.