Defying weekend lockdown, Karnataka Congress kicks off Mekedatu Padayatra
Work on Mekedatu reservoir, that aims to provide drinking water to Bengaluru and also generate 400 MW hydel power, has been stalled amidst opposition from Tamil Nadu that has moved Supreme Court
Defying the weekend lockdown, the Karnataka Congress on Sunday kicked off its 10-day 170 km padayatra from Mekedatu to Bengaluru.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee president D K Shivakumar and former chief minister Siddaramaiah led the padayatra from Sangam at Mekedatu in Kanakapura taluk of Ramanagara district-- the confluence of Cauvery and Arkavathi river. However, Siddaramaiah returned to Bengaluru after walking for four km as he felt feverish. His aides said Siddaramaiah was attended to by doctors and he would join the padayatra on Monday.
The padayatra had led to a face-off between the state’s BJP-led government and the Congress with the latter alleging the weekend lockdown and tougher Covid restrictions had been imposed only to prevent the party from going ahead with its programme.
There was speculation that the Congress would not be allowed to take out the padayatra and the workers would be stopped from entering Kanakapura, which is Shivakumar's assembly constituency.
The three-decade-old Mekedatu project envisages constructing a balancing reservoir at the Sangam to provide drinking water to Bengaluru and also generate 400 MW of hydel energy. The project has been stalled with Tamil Nadu opposing on the ground that it will affect share from the Cauvery river and filed a petition in the Supreme court.
Along the route, the Congress party had made lunch arrangements for 25,000 people and the menu included the traditional ragi mudde (ragi balls), rice, sambar, palya and the famous Mysore Pak sweet. The overnight stopover is at Dodda Aladahalli.