The kolaveri ( anger) was visible as life came to a stand still in Karnataka. In one of the biggest shows of strength on the contentious Cauvery issue , pro Kannada outfits showed their ire by bringing the state to standstill. Red and Yellow flags waving crowds of the pro Kannada outfits did not have much to do as the people observed a voluntary bandh in response to the protests in Tamil Nadu in last two weeks. The conflict between the two states stems from the proposal of the Karnataka government to go ahead with ordering a feasibility survey on the Mekedaatu project. The state government sanctioned 25 crores for a feasibility survey. The project expected to come up in the parched Kolar district will meet the drinking water requirement of the people of Kolar and Bangalore rural regions. Tamil Nadu has firmly opposed the decision of Karnataka government go ahead with the project. While a delegation of AIADMK and other parties MP’s from Tamil Nadu apprised the centre on the issue last month Tamil Nadu may not get its share of 192 tmcft water under the cauvery accord is a fear that the state has as the reservoir at Mekedaatu will store up to 48 tmcft water.
While Karnataka has assured that the neighbouring state need not have any apprehensions. “We will fulfil our commitment to Tamil Nadu , like we have done in the past. Despite differences we have been good neighbours”said M B Patil, Water resources minister Karnataka. But the show of strength by the pro kannada groups was an indicator of the anger in Karnataka over Tamil Nadu’s interference in its internal affair. They were uncharitable in their approach the protests targeted AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa and her party’s government led by O Paneerselvam. Vatal Nagraj who coordinated the 18 pro Kannada organizations said”Tami Nadu has no right to interfere, the project is in our state and its drinking water project for our people. Nobody can stop it, we will rally behind the government here and if the centre or Tamil Nadu opposes it the agitation will continue”. The state government’s feasibility study indicates that the project becomes very crucial for a fast expanding city. And since no acquisition of any private or agricultural land is required it may be easier for the state government to convince ministry of environment and forests to clear the project. For the moment however, the Siddharamaiah government is walking away with credit for showing indications to launch the project, but how much political support it can garner will decide the pace of the project.