‘It has not provided benefits that come with classical tag’
At the inauguration of the 79th Kannada Sahitya Sammelan here on Saturday, Chief Minister Jagadish Shettar said though the Union government had accorded classical status to Kannada, it had not provided the necessary benefits that are required to popularise the Kannada language.
“After a prolonged struggle by various organisations and Kannada lovers, the Union government gave classical status to Kannada in May 2008, but since then nothing has really been done by it to popularise the language in other parts of the country,” he said.
The government and pro-Kannada organisations should keep pressure on the government to provide deserving benefits to Kannada, he added reiterating that there would be no compromises in protecting the interests of Kannada and Kannadigas.
Mr. Shettar stressed that the Bharatiya Janata Party government had given the necessary support for the development of Kannada and culture in the State.
Referring to the State Budget proposals announced on Friday, he said Rs. 289 crore has been reserved for the Department of Kannada and Culture, which he said was Rs. 20 crore more than what was allocated in the previous budget.
He said his government was committed to providing adequate financial assistance to the Kannada Sahitya Parishat, and said Rs. 1 crore had been reserved for publications of Kannada dictionaries and for translation of books by Jnanpith Kannada writers into other languages.
“The government has set up a Boarder Area Development Authority that aims to develop Kannada and Kannadigas living in bordering areas of the State. We will also give complete support for organising cultural programmes such as Hampi, Dasara, Kittur Utsavs in various parts of the State,” he said.
With regard to Bijapur district’s budgetary allocations, he said Rs. 880 crore was for providing drinking water to the district under the Ganga Kalyan scheme, and added that he has also announced seven new taluks for the district.
Mr. Shettar categorically said his government would not close down government primary schools. He was responding to the demand made by Pundalik Halambi, the State president of the Kannada Sahitya Parishat, that the government should not close Kannada-medium schools. “I would like to give this assurance to you that we will not close these schools,” he said on Saturday.