Karnataka tightened security at the Cauvery river reservoir in the state and prohibited the assembly of five or more people in the area following threats by farmers to lay siege to it Wednesday to stop water release to Tamil Nadu.
The decision to lay siege to the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir in Mandya district was taken at a meeting of several religious leaders, farmers' organisations and Kannada groups here late Tuesday, G. Made Gowda, president of Cauvery Hitarakshana Samiti (forum to protect interests), told reporters here.
The KRS reservoir is about 80 km from Bangalore and has always been a Cauvery water row hotspot.
Following the decision, Mandya district administration banned assembly of five or more persons within 1 km radius of the reservoir. Additional forces would be deployed to prevent farmers and others reaching the area, an official spokesperson told IANS.
Security has been hightened at the KRS since late Saturday when Karnataka started releasing 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu daily as directed by the Supreme Court.
Famrers and Kannda groups have been agitating since Sunday and have been blocking rail and road movement between Bangalore and Mysore for several hours daily opposing water release. Mandya is en route to Mysore from Bangalore.
The protests have hit Mysore and neighbouring Chamarajanagar districts also as all three are Cauvery basin districts.
Agitators Tuesday blocked Cauvery water supply to Bangalore for several hours on the ground that Bangaloreans were not joining the stir in large numbers.
The Karnataka capital is heavily dependent on Cauvery water. Of its requirement of over 1,300 MLD (million litres daily), Bangalore gets about 950 MLD from the Cauvery river.
Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said the state government would file a petition in the Supreme Court Wednesday or Thursday seeking relief.
Leader of the opposition in the assembly, Siddaramaiah of Congress, told reporters in Mysore that his party legislators were ready to quit the assembly if the need arises. The Congress has 71 legislators in the 225-member assembly.