Normal life was largely unaffected in Tamil Nadu but reports said that shops were closed in Cuddalore, Dharmapuri, Villupuram, Mettur and in some other places where the PMK wields influence.
The DMK had expressed support to the PMK-called protest to denounce the central government's failure to set up the CMB and a Cauvery Water Regulatory Committee as ordered by the Supreme Court.
PMK activists squatted on rail tracks at several places in Chennai and were taken into custody.
Tragedy struck a party member at Dindivanam station when he climbed atop a train engine. A railway official told IANS that the person did not touch the high power cable above him but was close enough to suffer electric shock. An earlier report had wrongly said the activist died.
In Chennai, PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss led the protest at Egmore railway station.
"The central government is acting as if Tamil Nadu is not a part of India. This is not good for the sovereignty of the nation," Mr Ramadoss told reporters.
The PMK-led shutdown came a day after Tamil groups held protests in Chennai against the holding of Indian Premier League matches to express their anger over what they say is the Modi government's failure vis-a-vis the Cauvery dispute.