WB Govt recognises six non-Bengali languages



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 Islam.

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 him.

"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.

PTI