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Choice of delegation for NAVIKA draws flak

K.N. Venkatasubba Rao

BANGALORE: A Government Order of May 31, 2010, to send a delegation of 48 persons, including five officials, to represent the State at the first ever three-day Kannada world conference organised by the North America Vishva Kannada Association (NAVIKA) scheduled to be held at Los Angeles from July 2 has attracted flak from certain quarters.

In this context, there will be much interest in whether the Government will send another delegation to New Jersey where the America Kannada Kootagala Association (AKKA) is scheduled to host its three-day fif {+t} {+h} biennial world Kannada convention from September 3.

The delegation to NAVIKA convention includes Chairman of the Kannada Development Authority, Mukhya Mantri Chandru; Chairman of the Kannada Book Authority Siddalingiah, writers Aravinda Malagatti, Nallur Prasad, Siddalinga Pattanasetty and Jayant Kaikini; musicians M.D. Pallavi , Suma Sudheendra, Vemgal Narayanaswamy and Banduru Kempaiah; film artiste Ganesh and Jayanthi; dancer Vijayanthi Kashi; chairman of the Nataka Academy B.V. Rajaram; artiste K.V. Nagarajamurthy; and cricketer G.R. Vishwanath.

Those critical of this trip abroad argue that some of these persons have already represented the State at the cultural events held abroad, particularly at AKKA conventions, earlier.

Many cultural bodies have complained that the Government has cultivated the habit of selecting persons in an arbitrary fashion using public money. They have observed that any cultural organisation is eligible for grants and sponsorship only after the completion of three years from the date of its registration.

When asked for a clarification, Director of Kannada and Culture Manu Baligar told The Hindu on Thursday that selections were made on the basis of performance and more representation had been given to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes this time. On the issue of eligibility, he said the rule concerned was applicable only to grants and not sponsorship. With the launch of the first ever U.S. based federation of Kannada organisations Association of Kannada Kootas of America in 2000, the Government has set a precedent of sending a cultural delegation to represent the State at the AKKA's biennial world Kannada summit. Over the years, the Government sending delegations abroad for cultural and business promotion has become routine.

The website of NAVIKA has posted a long list of dignitaries who have confirmed their participation. The list includes the names of Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa (who is scheduled to inaugurate the event) Ministers such as V.S. Acharya, Jagadish Shettar, Janardhan Reddy, Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri and Murugesh Nirani and Chief Secretary S.V. Ranganath.

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