It is supposed to work for the promotion of Urdu language and literature. But the Urdu Academy in the State is forced to play Cupid. Yes. It is expected to extend money for construction of ‘shadikhanas’. Forget trying to find a connection between marriage halls and Urdu Academy – you wouldn’t be able to detect one by any stretch of imagination.

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy’s assertions on promotion of Urdu language sounds hollow if one looks at the budget allocation for Urdu Academy this year.

Of the Rs. 25.11 crore budget, shadikhanas get the lion’s share of Rs. 10 crore.

The preservation and promotion of Urdu language, the main mandate of the Urdu Academy, gets just Rs. 15.11 crore.

This lopsided allocation has caught the Academy officials by surprise while the Urdu lovers are left with a sense of dejection. In fact, in its budget proposals, the Academy suggested just Rs. 5 crore for shadikhanas and Rs. 21 crore for activities that are intended to promote Urdu language. But when the budget was allocated, it was surprised to find Rs. 10 crore earmarked for shadikhanas.

Last year, the allocation on this head was mere Rs. 2 crore. “I don’t know how building shadikhanas will serve the cause of Urdu,” wonders an official.

Interestingly, the shadikhana-cum-Urdu Ghar scheme introduced by the then Telugu Desam government is proving a big drain on the Academy’s resources.