LAHORE: The Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture (Pilac) has ceased to grant various awards, including the Pride of Punjab Award and those given on the best books while it has stopped holding traditional fairs. The presenters of FM95 Punjab Rung Radio have not been paid since November 2021, sources in Pilac told Dawn.

The institute used to give awards to the university students also who secured top positions but they had also been stopped.

Pilac Director General Dr Sughra Sadaf says Pride of Punjab Award was conferred on 23 distinguished personalities in the field of language, art and culture from 2016 to 18 and it was funded by the Punjab government.

“Similarly, 41 books won the award for best books in the two years. An academic award for young talent was granted to the university students who secured top three positions in Punjabi/Seraiki language at the Bachelor’s and Master’s level from the 2016 till 2018. Fifty students of public universities won this award.”

Ms Sadaf said that during the said two years, Pilac also organised a grand cultural festival in which more than 100 performers participated while Mela Chiragan and Mela Baharan were also celebrated on a large scale; however, funds were not provided by the government for these festivities after 2018.

She reiterated that Pilac was provided with a budget less than Rs1m every year for literary and cultural activities.

“Despite having such a meagre budget, the institute organises about a hundred events per year.”

Ms Sadaf proposed that the budget under the heads specified for cultural celebrations should be increased to meet the objectives of the institute like other cultural bodies, which were provided with larger budgets by the government.

She said, “We shall request the chairman board of governors (BoG) Pilac (the chief minister) to pay attention to the issues Pilac is confronted with. There is dire need to increase its budget to hold all those functions and celebrations Pilac used to organise during the previous years. We are facing paucity of funds actually,” said Sadaf.

She bemoaned that Pilac was not able to pay its radio presenters since November as 60pc budget of FM 95 Punjab Rung had not been released.

Pilac was founded for promotion of Punjab’s culture, language and traditions but what to talk of the whole Punjab, it has stopped holding any grand functions or fairs even in Lahore. It had a plan to establish a craft bazaar but the project could not see the light of the day.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2022

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