BENGALURU: The Kannada Development Authority (KDA) on Tuesday mandated immediate removal of Hindi signages and stopping of announcements in Hindi across all stations of the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (BMRCL). The need to set up a Kannada cell, hiring of natives across BMRCL and ensuring that staff who directly interact with the public were familiar with the Kannada language, figured among its demands.
Briefing media along with top BMRCL officials after an inspection of Metro stations, KDA Chairman SG Siddaramaiah called for the discontinuation of the tri-language policy across BMRCL.He said the Chief Secretary had written to the Centre that BMRCL could not be considered a Public Sector Undertaking and so the usage of Hindi as per the Official Language Act was not applicable. “When you have pointed out to the Union Government that BMRCL is not a Central government PSU, where is the doubt?”
The decision to have three languages was taken by an official in Metro in 2011 and hence the confusion, Kannada Development Authority Chairman S G Siddaramaiah said. “A letter issued from a minister in Kochi asking for the usage of Hindi in BMRCL is not binding on you,” he added.
BMRCL though was non-committal. Managing Director Pradeep Singh Kharola told KDA officials, “We hope to speak to the state government under your guidance and find a solution to this issue.”
When Kannada activist Ra Nam Chandrashekhar pointed out that announcements in Hindi continue to be made at Baiyyappanahalli, Vivekananda and Indira Nagar Metro stations, Siddaramaiah said the Metro MD had assured KDA that safety and other announcements made in Hindi would be stopped within a week.
RTI response in English
The KDA officials also pointed out that when information was sought in Kannada under the Right To Information Act, responses were furnished in English.They pointed out one copy as proof. U A Vasanth Rao, Chief Public Relations Officer, BMRCL, apologised for it. Mukhyamantri Chandru, former Chairperson of the KDA, told BMRCL to ensure that contractors to whom Metro jobs were outsourced hired locals or those who knew Kannada for posts of security guards and housekeeping.
Earlier during his presentation, Kharola pointed out that Metro was making use of Kannada in most of its communications.“We are dependent on foreign funding and the language used to communicate with officials from other countries has to be in English. In the case of High Court too where there are litigations over land acquisitions, English had to be used,” he said.Usage of Kannada was totally implemented in the Land Acquisition and Public Relations departments but in technical departments where foreign expertise was needed, it was not possible, he added.