Lovers of the Telugu language are upset at the surrender of the initial amount released by the Union Human Resources Development Ministry for the protection of the classical status of Telugu but at the same time, are upbeat that a sizeable chunk of Rs. 25 crore has been allocated in the 2013-14 budget for a new scheme ‘Telugu Baata’.

After recognising Telugu as a classical language in 2008, the Ministry released a sum of Rs. 65 lakh during 2011-12 and another Rs. 2 crore in 2012-13, for its development. Nonetheless, all this money has been surrendered to the Ministry by the Department of Culture, although it could have been fully spent on several needs already identified, the main one being establishment of “classical” chairs in Dravidian University etc.

The view among literary circles is that these funds could have been utilised fully but for a serious “mistake” made by the government in shifting the “classical language” subject to the Culture Department from Official Languages Commission (OLC) after the latter achieved the classical tag for Telugu.

The Culture Department is already burdened with too many responsibilities, including the future job of managing several fine arts academies after their revival as promised by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.

Critics say the language suffered a setback due to the “mistake”.

The eagerly-awaited classical Telugu division of the Central Institute of Indian languages, Mysore, has not yet opened at Hyderabad. A. B. K. Prasad, who, as OLC chairman, made relentless efforts to get the classical tag, appealed to HRD Minister M. M. Pallam Raju to return the surrendered amount. A Culture Department official said the allocation made in the budget would be used to conduct Telugu festivals in districts under ‘Telugu Baata’.