Bengaluru: The Opposition Congress resumed its truncated 170-kilometre padayatra this morning to put pressure on the Karnataka Government to implement the Mekedatu balancing reservoir project to cater to the drinking water requirements of Bengaluru and surrounding areas.
The Namma Neeru Namma Hakku padayatra, which began at Kanakapura Circle in Ramanagara town at around 9.30 am under the leadership of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President D.K. Shivakumar, will culminate at the National College Grounds in Bengaluru on Mar. 3.
Several senior Congress leaders, including AICC General Secretary in-charge of Karnataka, Randeep Singh Surjewala and former CM Siddharamaiah, took part. This is the second leg of the padayatra as the one in January had to be ended abruptly owing to the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hundreds of supporters cheered Shivakumar as he walked on the streets of Ramanagara.
On Jan. 13, Congress leaders took the decision to suspend the padayatra in Ramanagara in the light of the Karnataka High Court’s observations about violation of COVID-19 norms and the Government banning the procession. They had announced that the padayatra would be resumed when circumstances improved.
The procession would pass through various parts of Bengaluru city from Mar. 1 to Mar. 3. Bengaluru city can expect to face traffic snarls for three days starting Mar. 1. Congress has appealed to the people to cooperate and participate in the agitation. The protest march would conclude with a public meeting in National College Grounds at Basavanagudi on Mar. 3.
With Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai presenting the State Budget on Mar. 4, the duration of the padayatra in Bengaluru has been reduced, Lok Sabha MP D.K. Suresh said.
During the padayatra preliminarily meeting held at Kengal yesterday, Suresh said, “We decided to go for a five-day padayatra in Bengaluru but because of the Budget, there will be only a three-day walk for water. The first day will be held from Ramanagaram to Bidadi and on the second day from Bidadi to Kengeri. The third day rally will move from Kengeri to Basavanagudi.”