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Siddaramaiah writes to Centre over Hindi language row on Metro

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Siddaramaiah writes to Centre over Hindi language row on Metro

Bengaluru: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has written a letter to the Centre stating the state government was compelled to ask the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation totemporarily re-design signboards in stations without the Hindi language following a row over its use.

Amid the protests over theuse of Hindi in Bengaluru Metro signboards, Siddaramaiah wrote to Union Housing and Urban Development Minister Narendra SinghTomar, in which he said, “the stand of the central government touse three-language formula is not reasonable.”

“It is not essential to use Hindi in signages as commuterswho use Metro are comfortable with reading and understandingKannada 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) totemporarily 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 aroundMetro stations, it is counter-productive to continue to insiston use of three languages including Hindi, Siddaramaiah said.

“You would also agree with me that the cultural aspirationsand sentiments of the people of Karnataka need to berespected,” he said.

Apart from the cultural need to give primacy to the languageof the state, it is also practical to use those languages which local people can read and follow, Siddaramiah said.

Although both central and state governments have equal (50:50)stake in BMRCL, the financial contribution of Karnatakais 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 ministersaid.
Also, Karnataka has undertaken to repay all the loans contracted by BMRCL and also to bear the operating losses, andhence it would be appropriate that the policies of the stateare 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 atMetro stations should follow the state’s official languagepolicy, as per which only Kannada and English should be used.

The central ministry, in its reply, had clarified that allname boards and signages in Metro stations should be in allthree languages – Kannada, Hindi and English.

With the opening of the entire Phase I network ofBMRCL 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 beenwidespread 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 byprotests 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.

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