Lopsided fund allocation has caught Academy officials by surprise

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.

There are no takers for the shadikhanas as 70 per cent of them lack basic amenities. Most of them are on the town outskirts, either incomplete or without power and water connections. Though these shadikhanas are let out on nominal rent, none wants to use them. The shadikhanas are also supposed to host mushairas, but it is not happening anywhere, it is said.

Even in Hyderabad, which has large Urdu speaking population, the shadikhana at Motigalli remains incomplete.

Officials are happy that the Urdu Academy budget is substantially increased from Rs. 7.40 crore in 2012-13 to Rs. 25.11 crore now.

But they feel the budget allotted to shadikhanas could have been better used for the 84 Urdu computer centres, 70 libraries and other schemes.

For want of sufficient funds, the Urdu Academy is unable to print syllabus books for Urdu medium students of school, Intermediate and degree level. For many years, this job is entrusted to Telugu Academy.

Scrap shadikhana scheme

If the shadikhana scheme is scrapped or its budget cut down, the Academy can print its own text books, it is said.

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

  • I don’t know how building shadikhanas will serve the cause of Urdu, says an official