Department of Kannada and Culture yet to approve proposal

The Kannada Sahitya Parishat is upset over the State government’s alleged apathy in addressing the problems of the 98-year-old institution.

The parishat’s proposal on getting a Smaraka Bhavan constructed on its Chamarajpet premises here to mark its centenary (in 2015) is yet to be cleared by the government. Also, the institution is not in a position to take possession of a site allotted by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) — for carrying out its literary and cultural activities — owing to lack of funds.

“The government’s apathy towards Kannada language is the main reason for the problems the parishat is facing,” said parishat president Pundalika Halambi.

During the 77th Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelan in Bangalore in February 2011, the then Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa promised to get a Smaraka Bhavan constructed to commemorate the sammelan and to mark the parishat’s centenary. He also earmarked Rs. 5 crore in the 2011–12 budget for the purpose.

“Despite submitting a blueprint of the proposed building and budget estimate, the government is yet to respond,” Mr. Halambi said.

He said Rs. 45,000 was spent on getting the blueprint and estimate prepared and the project cost was estimated at Rs. 3.5 crore. “The proposal was submitted to the Department of Kannada and Culture long ago. But there has been no response till date,” he said.

“I even met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and appealed him to take initiative in launching the project. But, all I got was mere assurance. We don’t mind the government executing the project through the Public Works Department,” Mr. Halambi said.

When The Hindu contacted Minister for Public Works H.C. Mahadevappa, who incidentally is the president of the reception committee for the upcoming 80th Akhila Bharata Kannada Sahitya Sammelan in Madikeri, he said he was not aware of the parishat’s proposal. He would take up the matter with Mr. Siddaramaiah on priority and see to it that the bhavan would come up before the parishat celebrates its centenary.

Site

Similarly, following an assurance from Mr. Yeddyurappa, the BDA allotted a 8,460-sq. m site to the parishat in Visveswaraya Layout I Block and fixed the site value at Rs. 2.86-crore. The BDA asked the parishat to pay Rs. 52 lakh in equal instalments.

As the parishat did not have funds, it appealed to the BDA to allot the site free of cost “for the cause of Kannada”. The BDA, however, refused the request citing norms.

“The government spends huge amounts of money for various purposes and often claims that it has concern for the land, language and culture. Why can’t it spend a small sum for the cause of Kannada,” Mr. Halambi asked.