Karnataka bandh: As many as 44 flights to and from the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru were cancelled on Friday due to the Karnataka bandh over the Cauvery water sharing issue with neighboring Tamil Nadu. The statewide bandh has been called by Kannada Okkuta, an umbrella organisation for Kannada organisations.
44 flights cancelled
As per the reports, a total of 44 flights were cancelled including 22 flights arriving in Bengaluru and 22 flights that were scheduled to depart from the city. Several flights were scheduled to come in from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Mangaluru, among other locations.
Some passengers had a harrowing time as they missed their flights, buses and trains due to the day-long shutdown. Many passengers were distraught following the cancellation of flights and bus services.
Airport's authorities issued advisory
The airport's authorities had earlier issued a passenger advisory in view of the bandh, saying that they anticipate a disruption in transport services to and from the airport. They advised passengers to follow alerts from respective airlines, law enforcement agencies and media releases for further updates.
“Due to the one-day Karnataka bandh called by various unions and organisations on September 29, 2023, we anticipate disruption in transport services. Passengers are advised to plan their travel to and from the airport accordingly. Passengers are requested to follow alerts from respective airlines, law enforcement agencies and media releases for further updates,” the BLR Airport posted on X.
Protesters detained at airport
Farmers and pro-Kannada organisations held protests outside the airport. A group representing pro-Kannada organizations assembled near the arrival gate of Kempegowda International Airport to express their opposition to the Cauvery water dispute. They started raising slogans following which they were taken into preventive detention by the Bengaluru Police.
"We have taken 12 people into preventive detention. They had gathered at the airport premises to register their protest over the Cauvery water dispute. They were detained and taken into preventive detention," a senior police officer said.
Similarly, agitation took place at bus stations where the activists staged demonstrations and raised slogans holding banners, posters and placards. The agitators blocked many roads in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mandya and Chamarajanagar leading to a chaotic situation.
Normal life was affected, especially in the southern part of the state, with pro-Kannada and farmers’ organisations calling for bandh in the state. Kannada Okkuta includes factions of Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, Kannada Chalavali (Vatal Paksha) and various farmers’ bodies that have given a call for the statewide dawn-to-dusk shutdown.
The opposition BJP and JD(S) have extended their support to the bandh, as well as hotels, autorickshaws and hail riders associations in Karnataka.
State transport corporations too cancelled many of their bus services, especially in the Cauvery basin districts of Mysuru, Mandya and Chamarajanagar, where the bandh had the most impact.
The Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) said there were only 59.88 per cent bus operations in southern parts of Karnataka. The worst-hit KSRTC divisions in terms of operations were Mysuru and Chamarajanagar.
Against the scheduled departure of 447 buses, only seven plied in Mysuru while in Chamarajanagar, eight out of 247 bus services operated. Mandya, Chikkamagaluru and Bengaluru witnessed 37.25 per cent, 51.49 per cent and 57.39 per cent operations, respectively, against the scheduled departures.
Bus stands and railway stations in southern Karnataka and the airport in Bengaluru wore a deserted look. In the Cauvery basin districts of Mysuru, Mandya, and Chamarajanagar, where the bandh had the most impact, state transport corporations also cancelled many of their bus services.
(With PTI inputs)