The prestigious Sahitya Akademi is in a fix. As the number of writers returning the award is rising, their office is fast running out of space for them.
As many as 40 Sahitya Akademi award-winners have returned their awards, along with the money, but the Akademi office is merely receiving the parcels without opening them.
Sahitya Akademi secretary K Sreenivasa Rao has said, “Just because the awards are being sent to us doesn’t mean we’re accepting them. They are kept at our office. We’re not encashing the cheques either. We can’t,” he told Times Of India .
M Bhoopal Reddy, a Telugu writer, was conferred with the Sahitya Akademi award in 2011 and had deposited Rs 50,000 cash component in a bank. He didn’t withdraw the money since then. When he recently decided to return the award, he immediately drew a cheque for the sum and returned it to the Akademi along with the memento.
“I packed the memento in a box and sent it through the postal department. I also sent a cover letter with the cheque addressed to the secretary of the Akademi,”Reddy told TOI. He said he hadn’t got any official acknowledgment so far.
It has been a fortnight since Reddy sent the cheque, but the money remains in his account, because the Sahitya Akademi office has reportedly said it won’t even touch it.
“The executive board will have to take a decision on what to do with the mementos and cheques if the awardees don’t take them back,” Rao added.
Similarly, K Vidhmahe, who won the Akademi award for her work ‘Sahityakasamlo Sagam’ (essays) in 2013, also returned her memento and cheque by parcel.