CHENNAI: Months after Hindi place names on milestones within Tamil Nadu created an uproar, the National Highways wing of the State government has advised officials to avoid Hindi and revert to English and Tamil.
Official sources in the National Highways department told Express that while renaming the existing National Highways and upgrading the State highways into national highways, the district authorities have been asked to use Tamil and English in milestones.
“An instruction has been given to authorities concerned to avoid Hindi in the milestones,” said an official.
According to the language policy issued by Indian Road Congress in 2004, English and local language are used for stones showing 5-km distance, while local language and Hindi should be used in 1 km and 3 km stones.
Though the Union government notified the orders in 2004, both National Highways Authority of India and State National Highways did not implement it in Tamil Nadu. However, in February 2017 after renaming a few national highways in the State, the State national highways replaced English with Hindi in several highways.
After Express broke the story in March 2017, miscreants defaced the Hindi milestones on NH 75 in Vellore and political parties, including DMK, PMK, MDMK demanded that Hindi be erased. Subsequently, the work on writing in milestones was stalled in April 2017 on NH 75 and other highways. Since then, about 40 milestones (almost 40 km) in K V Kuppam - Latheri - Gudiyatham - Bathirapalli remained with no markings for the past seven months, causing inconvenience to motorists.
A senior official of National Highways wing told Express that officials concerned have been asked to go ahead with milestone writings without using Hindi.
“Recently the Union government changed the nomenclature of the inter-State National Highways. The road length of NH will be marked separately for every State. After Andhra Pradesh highways department completes works on distance markings, we will start writing the milestones. The names will appear only in Tamil and English,” the official said.
The NHAI that maintains about 3,496 km roads in Tamil Nadu, has not used Hindi in milestones in the State. “In Tamil Nadu, we have been using only the local language and English. Hardly one or two stones in major stretches has milestones in Hindi. Names in three languages are used for large name boards,” the official added.
Language policy by Indian Road Congress
As per the language policy of Indian Road Congress, English and local language are used for stones showing 5-km distance, while local language and Hindi should be used in 1 km and 3 km stones