Karnataka

With new riders, no funds for Chikkamagaluru literary event

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Choice of Vittal Heggade as chairperson of event opposed

The selection of chairperson for the district-level Kannada Sahitya Sammelan in Chikkamagaluru has turned into a controversy with the Kannada Sahitya Parishat insisting that its district unit submit approval letters from the district in-charge Minister and Deputy Commissioner to get funds released for the event.

The organisers are unable to get this letter, and therefore no funds, with Minister in-charge of Chikkamagaluru C.T. Ravi, also Minister for Kannada and Culture, opposed to the choice of Karnataka Sahitya Academy awardee Kalkuli Vittal Heggade as president of the 16th district-level Kannada Sahitya Sammelan scheduled to be held in Sringeri on January 10 and 11.

The insistence on letter has come about after protests over selection of Mr. Heggade were held by right-wing groups. With days left for the sammelan, this has created financial problems for the organisers.

Manu Baligar, president of Kannada Sahitya Parishat, said that he will not interfere in the selection of the chairperson, but insisted that these letters were mandatory. Mr. Baligar said he would need a “clearance” from the district administration to release the grant.

The department provides grants for activities of the Parishat. “The Minister himself told me there was a tense situation prevailing in the district and suggested holding the event three-four months later. I have asked the district president to get a clearance from the district magistrate (DC) and a letter from the Minister. I will release funds within 24 hours of getting the letters,” said Mr. Baligar.

He argued that in a democracy, he would have to listen to elected representatives. The central unit of Kannada Sahitya Parishat provides ₹5 lakh for a district-level sammelan.

Ashok Kundur, president of Sahitya Parishat’s Chikkamagaluru district unit, said he had requested the Minister for a letter of recommendation for the funds, but he refused to give one. “The parishat’s central unit president has sought letter from the district Minister to release funds. It has not been the practice so far. There is no such rule,” he said.

With only a few days to hold the event, the district unit of the Parishat should have got the funds by this time. “Anyhow, we will hold the event, despite the difficulties. Our people are raising funds. If not a grand event, we will ensure a simple and meaningful programme,” Mr. Ashok said. He also ruled out the possibility of changing the president of the sammelan.

Members of Save Kannada Sahitya Parishat Samiti and Anti-Naxal Struggle Committee staged a protest in Sringeri on Friday opposing the selection of Mr. Heggade.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 1:38:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/with-new-riders-no-funds-for-chikkamagaluru-literary-event/article30480921.ece

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