The Ministry of Urban Development tells TNM that it “acted purely on the direction of the Home Ministry”.

Hindi signs in Namma Metro Order shows its thanks to Centres three language policyPTI
news Namma Metro Friday, June 23, 2017 - 19:27

The controversy surrounding the use of Hindi language sign boards in Bengaluru’s Metro Stations has taken a new turn.

According to an order dated December 9, 2016, the Ministry of Urban Development had issued directions that all metro stations located in Non-Hindi speaking areas will have sign boards in the regional language, English and Hindi. This followed a meeting between the Joint Hindi Advisory Committee and the Ministries of Urban Development and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, held at Kochi on October 18, 2016.

“This committee has no legal standing in deciding what language sign boards the Karnataka government must implement. Metro Rail is a state subject and the Centre cannot impose such rules. We have petitioned for the minutes of this meeting so that we can fight this battle legally,” Ganesh Chetan, a member of Kannada Grahakara Koota said.

When TNM contacted the Ministry of Urban Development in New Delhi, the Under Secretary, Rachna Kumar, said that the department had “acted purely on the direction of the Home Ministry”.

“We were just following the orders of the Parliamentary Standing Committee, Ministry of Home Affairs and the Department of Official Language. They are the ones who make decisions on the sign boards and what languages they have to be in,” Rachna Kumar, added.

Accusing the Centre of imposing Hindi on the people of Karnataka, Ganesh said, “This clearly proves Hindi is being imposed on people. Besides, this order was sent to Tamil Nadu and Kerala as well. Those states did the right thing and did not include Hindi. Why did the Karnataka government not do the same?”

This comes just a day after Kannada Development Authority issued a show-cause notice to Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), seeking answers as to why the agency decided to use Hindi language in its sign boards.

“This Namma Metro Hindi Beda campaign gained momentum only after the Green Line was inaugurated but we have been fighting the imposition of Hindi language ever since the Purple Line became functional. We have been filing RTIs since 2011 and ever since the government has been inconsistent with its answers,” said Vasanth Shetty, pro-Kannada activist.

According to Ganesh Chetan, the RTI replies he received indicated that BMRCL was responsible for the policy to introduce the Hindi language signs.

“The Karnataka government has been passing the buck on BMRCL for so long. This order reveals that BMRCL was directed by the Central government in imposing Hindi language. We will get to the bottom of this. The legislators and leaders are now answerable because clearly, BMRCL could not have gone ahead with installing Hindi sign boards without the state’s approval. We will file fresh RTI applications and dig out all the necessary information for a legal battle,” he added.