By Dharbendra Jha Janakpurdham, July 15: Five people and one organisation have won the Nepal Bidyapati Award this year for their contributions to the field of Maithili language, literature, art and culture. Litterateur Brikhesh Chandra Lal, journalists Sujit Jha and Amarendra Yadav and writers Ajit Kumar Sah and Sunita Kumari Sah along with the organisation Maithili Literary Council won the award which is considered the highest honour in Maithili literature. The winners were handed the awards by the Bidyapati Award Fund amidst a programme in Janakpur on Tuesday. The Maithili Literary Council of Saptari won the Nepal Bidyapati Maithili Language and Literature Award for its work in conserving and protecting Maithili language and literature. Along with the award, it also received a cash prize of Rs. 200,000. Similarly, Lal received the Nepal Bidyapati Maithili Translation Award, Jha received the Nepal Bidyapati Maithili Research Award, Yadav received the Nepal Bidyapati Maithili Manuscript Award and the two Sahs jointly received the Nepal Bidyapati Maithili Art and Culture Award. Each of them also received an amount of Rs. 100,000 with their award. The recipient of Nepal Bidyapati Maithili Manuscript Award Amarendra Yadav is a journalist with The Rising Nepal. Chief Minister of Province 2 Mohammad Lalbabu Raut honoured the six awardees by draping a ceremonial scarf around their neck and providing them with certificates. Speaking on the occasion, Raut stated that his government was committed to protecting and developing the languages and cultures of the province. “The provincial government will establish an academy in a few days to study and develop Maithili,” he said. At the programme, presided over by the Award Fund’s Chairman Ram Chandra Yadav, Madheshi Commission Chairman Vijay Kumar Datta and senior journalist and writer Himanshu Chaudhary, as well as the award winners and other participants, urged the provincial government to promote Maithili as the second language in Province 2 after Nepali.