Chennai: The day-long bandh called in Tamil Nadu on Saturday to protest Karnataka's move to build a reservoir at Mekeddatu across Cauvery evoked a mixed response with normal life being partially affected as the neighbouring state termed the stir as "politically motivated".
The dawn-to-dusk bandh called by Coordination Committee of All Farmers Associations and supported by opposition parties, including DMK, DMDK, MDMK and the Left besides traders' associations, was marked by protests, rail and road blockade for brief spells across the state.
Police said the bandh passed off peacefully and there were no untoward incidents except blocking of road and rail traffic in some places in Tiruvarur, Thanjavur and Nagapattinam and Tiruchirappalli districts where the shops were closed and bus stand and railway stations wore a deserted look.
The ruling AIADMK neither supported nor opposed the bandh. Yesterday, the state Assembly adopted an unanimous resolution urging the Centre to rein in Karnataka on the issue.
Police, who had put in place adequate security across the state during the bandh, said normal life was affected in Cauvery delta region and some other places.
Farmers bodies termed the bandh as a success claiming that lakhs of people had joined the protest against Karnataka and said the proposed dam would deprive them of their irrigation requirements.
In some areas of the state, trains were held up briefly due to the agitation and resumed after police intervention.
People in Cauvery delta districts such as Tiruchirappalli, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Perambulur and Ariyalur responded to the bandh call overwhelmingly as all business and commercial establishments downed shutters there while it was lukewarm in other parts of the state.
Public and private transport services operated as usual in most parts of the state, police said adding there was no major untoward incident.
State-run transport corporations operated buses as usual though employees belonging to opposition trade unions refrained from work in several locations, officials said.
Taxi and auto operators affiliated to the Left trade unions did not ply their vehicles.
Describing the bandh as a "success" without even "a stray violent incident", President of Coordination Committee of All Farmers Associations P R Pandian thanked all those "who had stood behind the farmers today."
Terming Tamil Nadu's objection to the proposed Mekedatu dam project as "politically motivated," Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today said his government knew how to face the issue legally and through other means.
"They have been creating this fuss from the beginning, we are giving 192 tmc ft as per the (Cauvery water disputes) tribunal order," Siddaramaiah told reporters in Bengaluru.
He said: "We are building the Mekedatu dam within our state. They will not have any problem from it, they are doing it for the sake of politics, we know how to face this both legally and through other means."
In Karnataka, an effigy of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam was burnt in one of the districts.
Reacting to Siddaramiah's remarks, Pandian told PTI: "This is a protest of farmers. Our livelihood depends on farming, and any new dams will directly hit our livelihood.
"Political parties are supporting it and that is it, I wonder where does the question of politicising the issue comes," he said.
A report from Madurai said about 50 members of the Naam Thamizhar Katchi were arrested for attempting to picket rail traffic.
In Thiruvarur, around 500 persons were arrested for trying to block trains at Mannargudi and Nidamangalam while in Nagapattinam about 350 persons were detained.
In Tiruchirappalli, most of the shops and business establishments remained closed.
But in neighbouring Pudukottai district, several shops were open while most of the shops in Perambalur and Ariyalur districts remained shut, reports said.
In Western Tamil Nadu, the bandh evoked good response with most traders and retailers downing their shutters in Coimbatore, Tirupur and Nilgiris districts.
Almost all shops and good number of industrial units, were closed in Coimbatore and Pollachi.
In the hosiery town of Tirupur, nearly 90 per cent of knitwear units were closed and traders also downed their shutters, causing inconvenience to about four-lakh strong migrant workers.
Tourism activities were also affected in Gudalur, Udhagamandalam, Kothagiri and Coonoor in Nilgiris District due to the bandh. Buses coming from Karnataka were stopped at the state border, police said.