Karnataka bandh
Youngsters with the Karnataka flag.IBTimes/Arkadev Ghoshal

The three-day Akhila Bharat Kannada Sahitya Sammelana at Raichur kicks off on Friday. The Kannada Sahitya Parishat (KSP) reportedly has spent Rs 5 crore on this event with the government contributing Rs 4 crore and the rest being raised through donations.

The 82nd edition of this Sammelana has turned Raichur into a scene of festivity and celebration. There are banners, buntings and Karnataka flags all around the town. But this is not the first time that the city has hosted this event. Raichur has hosted it previously in 1935, when Panje Mangesharaya was president of the conference, and in 1956, under the stewardship of Adyarangachar.

Demotization and the drought situation in the state are the two major issues at this point. However, this has not prevented the Sammelana or the people of Raichur from making this a grand event. But there are doubts about how big the crowds will be.

"Demonetization has hit the people very hard, particularly the farmers of north Karnataka. Most of the ATMs have run out of cash. People are more worried about meeting their household expenses. I doubt if there will be a huge crowd," said Bhimasen, a shop owner in Raichur, told The Times of India.

As for the drought one of the organisers told TOI, "The district has been facing drought for the past four years. People here are used to such natural calamities. I don't think it will have a significant impact on the event."

Parishat president Manu Baligar hoisted the Karnataka flag at 9 30 am on Friday to signal the start of the event. Post this, a procession led by Ramachandrappa from the Karnataka Sangha premises to the conference venue took place.

There has been a lot of security put in place to ensure no untoward events. Superintendent of Police Chetan Singh Rathor and Deputy Superintendent of Police S.B. Patil are in charge of security.