M A I N   N E W S

Punjabi Haryana’s second language 
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 28
After months of dithering on issuing a formal notification despite repeated commitments and announcements, Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today conceded to popular sentiment and declared that Punjabi was now the second language in the state.

Making the announcement at a meet-the-press programme at the Chandigarh Press Club, Hooda said a notification to this effect had been issued and Punjabi would get all “benefits” which come dove-tailed with being the second language.

With this notification, any legislator can now ask any question in Punjabi in the Assembly and correspondence with the state government, too, can be in Punjabi— Bhupinder Singh Hooda

He added that with this notification, any legislator could now ask any question in Punjabi in the Assembly and correspondence with the state government, too, could be in Punjabi. Hooda said his government’s endeavour would be to further popularise the use of the language.

It may be recalled that recently, during a visit of a two-member team of the Minorities Commission to Haryana, the Chief Minister had assured the members of expediting the notification and declaring Punjabi as the second language. The issue had been hanging fire since the last term of the Congress government when various Sikh bodies and organisations had raised the demand and had been assured of favourable action. Declaring Punjabi as the second language was also a part of the Congress manifesto.

The Chief Minister, usually known to conceal more than he reveals, today minced no words even on ticklish issues, asserting for Haryana’s rightful share in everything from Chandigarh to a separate High Court.

Maintaining that he stood by his demand for a separate High Court for Haryana, he emphasised, “We not only want a separate High Court, we want it in Chandigarh,” he said.

Asked if there was any practical solution to the long-standing disputes between Punjab and Haryana, including that of Chandigarh which is raked up occasionally resulting in statement-slinging match between the two states, Hooda said, “Of course there’s a practical solution. Let us have Chandigarh. What can be more practical than this.”

If Punjab and Haryana can differ on solutions for disputes between them, they can shake hands when the need arises. Hooda said he and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had, in a written communication to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, focused on the loss suffered by both states as a result of incentives given to other neighbouring states to promote industry.

“Of course, we have suffered due to the incentives. There has been dislocation of industries from the two states. We have urged the Prime Minister to either refrain from extending such incentives or give similar incentives to Punjab and Haryana for our backward areas. We have the Mewat area which could certainly do with some help,” he stated.

He reiterated his commitment to fulfilling the aspirations of the Sikhs on a separate gurdwara parbandhak committee in Haryana. 



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