BENGALURU: Milestones in Kannada on the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway are being replaced by those written in Hindi and English, much to the annoyance of people in the region.
Mahantesh B, a resident of Balageri, Ramanagaram district, said, “After road-widening began, the first thing they did was to remove the old milestones and put in new ones without any Kannada.”
He said his son-in-law, visiting him from Mysuru on a motorbike, lost his way in the evening as he reads neither Hindi nor English. The Bengaluru-Mysuru stretch was upgraded from state highway to national highway no. 275 in 2014, after Karnataka urged the Surface Transport Ministry to take up the stretch.
A bypass connects to Ilavala on the outskirts of Mysuru, and cuts the distance by 16-18 km. The project is fully funded by the Centre and is expected to be completed by 2017.
Chetan Jeeral, an IT professional who recently travelled on this stretch, said, “The highway passes through Karnataka and most people here read and write Kannada. Just because it is a national highway, English and Hindi should not be imposed on us.”
D Srinivasulu Naidu, Project Director of the National Highways Authority of India, Bengaluru, said, “That highway is not maintained by NHAI.
I am not aware of the developments.”
Twitter is abuzz with livid posts against the removal of Kannada milestones. L Hanumanthaiah, chairman of Kannada Development Authority, said, “This is a deliberate attempt to undermine Kannada as a language.”
The first thing I will do on Monday is to write to the PWD to rectify this blunder.” He said this was not the first time Kannada was being sidelined. “India is a multilingual country and its linguistic plurality should be respected. I am not against Hindi or English, but how can they ignore the majority in a democracy?”
Hanumanthaiah is travelling to Mysuru on Saturday and hopes to ensure Kannada is restored on the milestones. PWD officials were not available for comment.
Work is in progress on the upgradation, expected to reduce the distance between Bengaluru and Mysuru by 16 to 18 km. The current distance is 139 km.