Siddaramiah's decision to remove Hindi signboards from Bengaluru metro may be late as KDA adds locals vs outsiders colour

The Hindi signboards in Bengaluru metro may finally go with Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, on Friday, asking for their removal. However, the issue is far from over. In fact, Chief Minister Siddaramiah's announcement may already be late with the stir against Hindi imposition in Namma Metro trains and stations already taking a "locals vs outsiders" colour.

Earlier on Tuesday during a visit of Bengaluru Metro trains and stations, the Kannada Development Authority (KDA) added another 'regional' twist to the stir, pushing it beyond signages and announcement in Hindi, by seeking removal of non-Kannadiga engineers from the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL).

File image of Siddaramaiah. PTI

File image of Siddaramaiah. PTI

According to The Hindu KDA chairman SG Siddaramaiah and members have raised the issue and written to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, chief secretary Subhash Chandra Khuntia and additional chief secretary (urban development) Mahendra Jain, to issue an order to give preference to Kannada and Kannadigas.

As per the article there are seven chief engineers in BMRC who are non-Kannadigas while Karnataka has the highest number of engineering colleges in the country and we have a lot of qualified Kannadigas to do the job.

According to The Times of India, the hiring of so many non-Kannadigas is in 'violation' of the Sarojini Mahishi report, the letter cites and government must ensure these (non-Kannadiga) engineers are relieved from their jobs.

The Sarojini Mahishi report of 1986, recommends 100 percent reservation for Kannadigas in state and public sector units and in some categories in central government departments.

The letter to the chief minister had pointed out that a large number of the BMRC workforce in the cleaning (housekeeping) and security departments are non-Kannadigas, which is an indication of the importance Kannada is getting at the corporation.

The Bengaluru Metro, called Namma Metro (Namma meaning "our" in Kannada), is a joint venture between the Karnataka government and the Union government. A trend #NammaMetroHindiBeda by a social media campaign by Banavasi Balaga Prakashana, took  social media by wave, saw people criticising  the use of Hindi and calling it ‘unnecessary'.

News18 reported of incidences where Bengaluru Metro signboards with Hindi letters on them were vandalised and Hindi letters on the boards of Chickpete and Majestic stations covered with paper and taped carefully.

The metro boards are in Kannada, English and along with and Hindi but only the parts with Hindi were covered to oppose the move.  Critics cite that the inclusion of Hindi as a public service language in a city of Karnataka, where Hindi did not even figure in the top five mother tongues, makes no sense.

Siddaramiah announced his decision on the issue on Friday, after BMRCL sought the state government's intervention. However, the issue seems far from over, especially with the Kannadigas vs non-Kannadigas issue likely to keep it alive.

Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) also staged a protest and demanded the BMRCL to end the practice of Hindi signboards in metro stations as well as announcements.

KRV said that Hindi was not being used in metro trains in neighbouring states of Kerala and Maharashtra.

Earlier, BMRCL had even issued an order directing non-Hindi speaking states to use three languages, state's official language, Hindi, and English, for signboards, announcements and public material for public information in all metro stations.

Updated Date: Jul 28, 2017 19:05 PM

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