Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has written a letter to the Centre stating the state government was compelled to ask the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation to temporarily re-design signboards in stations without the Hindi language following a row over its use.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has written a letter to the Centre stating the state government was compelled to ask the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation to temporarily re-design signboards in stations without the Hindi language following a row over its use. Amid the protests over the use of Hindi in Bengaluru Metro signboards, Siddaramaiah wrote to Union Housing and Urban Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, in which he said, “the stand of the central government to use three-language formula is not reasonable.” “It is not essential to use Hindi in signages as commuters who use Metro are comfortable with reading and understanding Kannada or English,” he said in the letter released to the media today.
“Hence, the state government is compelled to ask Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation (BMRCL) to temporarily re-design signages, name boards in Metro stations, without using Hindi language and script,” he said. Although the government has strictly dealt with those who had defaced signages and maintained law and order in and around Metro stations, it is counter-productive to continue to insist on use of three languages including Hindi, Siddaramaiah said. “You would also agree with me that the cultural aspirations and sentiments of the people of Karnataka need to be respected,” he said. Apart from the cultural need to give primacy to the language of the state, it is also practical to use those languages which local people can read and follow, Siddaramiah said.
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Although both central and state governments have equal (50:50) stake in BMRCL, the financial contribution of Karnataka is much more than that of the Centre, he said. Moreover, the supervision of operations, provision of security, etc, to BMRCL is the state’s responsibility, the chief minister said. Also, Karnataka has undertaken to repay all the loans contracted by BMRCL and also to bear the operating losses, and hence it would be appropriate that the policies of the state are implemented in the project. “I would therefore request you to review your earlier decision in this regard,” he said. He also said the state government had earlier written to the Urban Development Ministry highlighting that the signages at Metro stations should follow the state’s official language policy, as per which only Kannada and English should be used.
The central ministry, in its reply, had clarified that all name boards and signages in Metro stations should be in all three languages – Kannada, Hindi and English. With the opening of the entire Phase I network of BMRCL last month, the number of people using Metro network has crossed three lakh per day, Siddaramaiah said. “Ever since the opening of the entire network, there have been widespread protests against the use of Hindi in the nameboards and signages in Metro stations,” he said. It started as a campaign in the social media, followed by protests and submission of memoranda, he said. Later, it began to take a violent turn with activists trying to deface nameboards and signages at Metro stations, Siddaramaiah added.