Kolkata: The West Bengal government on Thursday
decided to recognise six languages other than Bengali as those
spoken by linguistic minorities in the state.
"We have taken a decision today to notify Urdu, Hindi,
Nepali, Oriya, Santhali and Gurmukhi as the language of the
linguistic minorities so that work can be done in these
languages wherever there is scope," Chief Minister Mamata
Banerjee told reporters.
She said Urdu will be treated as the second language in
districts where its speakers comprised at least 10 per cent of
the population. More than 30 per cent of the population in
some districts spoke Hindi.
Banerjee said though the previous Left Front government
recognised religious minorities, they had not done anything to
recognise the linguistic minorities.
The Chief Minister said she chose this day to announce
the welfare schemes for minorities as it happened to be the
112th birth anniversary of Bengal`s famous poet Kazi Nazrul
Not much research had been done on the life and works of
Nazrul Islam, Banerjee said, adding a decision had been taken
to set up a Nazrul Acedemy to encourage better research on
"The academy will conduct research into Nazrul`s writings
and music so that the coming generations can know of his
contributions," she said.
Pointing out that the Nazrul Award could not be given as
the awards committee had resigned owing to the Assembly
elections, Banerjee said the award would be restored after
reconstituting the committee.
In keeping with the demand from a large section of
Muslims, the name of the Alia University, set up by the
erstwhile Left Front government, will be renamed Alia Madrasa
University, she said.
"The previous government had set up the university, but
not much work had been done. There was a strong demand from a
large section of Muslims, especially Madrasa students and
teachers, to add the word `Madrasa` to the name of the
university. We have respected this demand," she said.
Banerjee said the government will give thrust on social
welfare projects like health, education and employment in the
minority concentrated areas.
Construction and repair of guard walls of all major
Muslim burial grounds would be completed in the next five
years, the Chief Minister said.