A shutdown across Karnataka on Thursday has logged out India’s tech hub, with IT majors Infosys, Wipro and other multinational firms suspending their operations for the day. Infosys campuses at Electronics City on the city outskirts and other locations were closed on Thursday till 6.30 pm as result of the shutdown. The IT major’s offices in Mysuru and Mangaluru were also shut.
A Wipro official said in a statement to IANS: “On account of the shutdown, as a precautionary measure, Wipro has declared a holiday for employees in Karnataka on Thursday.”
The 12-hour shutdown is being observed across the southern state for Mahadayi river water from the neighbouring state of Goa to meet the drinking needs of the people in the state’s four northwest districts of Belagavi, Bagalkote, Dharwad and Hubballi.
Localities like Whitefield, a suburb in the northeastern part of the city, and Manyata Tech Park in the northern part, housing several global IT giants like Microsoft, IBM and Cognizant, have also suspended their operations for the day. The southern state capital is home to at least 750 multinational companies and over 2,000 IT firms, with nearly 20 lakh techies working in them.
With a dominant IT industry, the city contributes to about 40 per cent of the total IT exports done by the country. Farmers and pro-Kannada organisations and regional outfits have given the dawn-to-dusk shutdown call for the Prime Minister’s intervention to resolve the two decades’ old inter-state dispute over the sharing of the river water for drinking and irrigation needs in the four drought-prone districts.
Public transport like buses, taxis stayed off the roads, with schools, colleges, offices, hotels, restaurants, malls and markets closed till the evening, disrupting normal life in the city.
The 77-km Mahadayi or Mandovi river originates at Bhimgad in the Western Ghats in Belagavi district of north-west Karnataka and flows into Goa and eventually joins the Arabian Sea off the west coast. Though the river flows runs 29km in Karnataka and 52km in Goa, its catchment area is spread over 2,032km in the southern state as against 1,580km in the western state (Goa).
Karnataka has been asking Goa since 2001 to release 7.6 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of the river water. Karnataka plans to build two canals at Kalasa and Banduri, which are the tributaries of the river in the state, to divert and supply the water to the four districts.
The Mahaydai Water Disputes Tribunal, headed by JN Panchal, on July 28, 2016 rejected the state’s petition for releasing the river water, citing various grounds, including ecological damage the twin canal projects may cause.