BENGALURU: The Kannadiga diaspora spread across the world has done the state proud. However, the enthusiasm of Kannadigas in Gulf countries to showcase the fervour and ethos of their language and culture has put Non-Resident Indian(NRI) Forum of Karnataka in a fix.
Keen to emulate International Kannada conclaves being organised by Association of Kannada Kootas of America (AKKA) and North America Vishwa Kannada Associations(NAVIKA) with liberal financial grants from the state government, the Kannada associations in Gulf countries--Dubai, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar--have approached the NRI Forum of Karnataka, seeking grants to organise similar international Kannada conclaves. With a meagre annual grant of Rs 2 crore, the NRI Forum of Karnataka has conveyed its financial limitations, and it has not gone down well with Kannada outfits in Gulf countries.
The biennial Kannada conclaves organised by AKKA and NAVIKA in America have emerged big international events with Chief Minister being invited as the chief guest. The state government has been granting about D50 lakh to D60 lakh for the events. The AKKA event this year is being held in Dallas from August 31 to September 2.
“About 8 lakh Kannadigas are staying in Gulf countries of Bahrain, Dubai, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. We have formed Kannada Sanghas here and are actively engaged in conducting events. The state government has been providing liberal grants and even sending renowned artistes to perform in AKKA and NAVIKA events. But our requests for grants have not been met,” said Sadan Das, president of Dubai Kannada Sangha.
NRI Forum helpless
The NRI Forum of Karnataka has conveyed its inability to meet the request for grants. Forum Deputy Chairperson Dr Arathi Krishna told The New Indian Express, “We have a policy of providing assistance for Kannada associations abroad. It has maximum ceiling of Rs 5 lakh. With an annual grant of just Rs 2crore, we are not in a position to raise it.”