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Govt. to withdraw controversial order

By Our Special Correspondent

BANGALORE, MAY 4. The State Cabinet has decided to withdraw the controversial order directing all departments to ensure that Government Orders, notifications and so on are made available in languages of linguistic minorities. The status quo will prevail and all Government Orders will be issued only in Kannada.

The Minister for Information, G. Parameshwar, told presspersons here that the Cabinet considered representations from various sections, including the views of the Kannada Development Authority, and decided to withdraw the order.

The Cabinet also decided to revert to the earlier position on undertaking development works in rural areas.

The powers vested with the gram panchayats to drill borewells or undertake repairs of wells have been withdrawn since they lack the infrastructure.

The zilla panchayats will, henceforth, take care of all the requirements of the gram panchayats in their jurisdiction.

Assurance to KDA

Our Bangalore Staff Reporter writes:

Earlier today, the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, promised to reconsider the controversial order issued on April 30 which made it mandatory to issue all GOs and notifications in the various minority languages in the State, besides Kannada. The Chief Minister gave the assurance to the Chairman of the Kannada Development Authority (KDA), B.M. Idinabba, and others who called on him after holding an emergency meeting on the order.

"The primacy of Kannada in Karnataka will in no way be allowed to be affected." He (Mr. Krishna) would take a take decision after going through the matter today itself, a press release from the KDA quoted the Chief Minister as having said.

The KDA demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Government Order. Mr. Idinabba told presspersons after the KDA meeting that the order was "unnecessary and against the interests of Kannada language and culture." It was also an order that needlessly stoked passions among the different linguistic minority groups living in harmony in Karnataka.

The KDA had no inkling that the State Government intended to issue this order, and became aware of if only when it was reported in the media four days ago, Mr. Idinabba said. The KDA's inquiries with the Law Department and the Department of Personnel and Administrative Reforms revealed that the order was based on the directive of the Union Government and the National Minorities Commission.

Such an order was issued once in ten years after the completion of the Census exercise and was aimed at ensuring the Constitutional guarantees given to linguistic minority groups. However, the fact was that in the past five years, barely 60 orders had been translated and issued in Marathi and Urdu by the Government. There was none during 2002 and 2003. Mr. Idinabba said that while it was necessary to ensure that the minority groups assimilated themselves into the mainstream and certain concessions were required to be given to achieve it, it was the Government's prime duty to protect the interests of Kannada and Kannadigas. "When the Government issues an order, it must ensure that it is legal, Constitutional and technically right. However, it is equally important to take into account the ethos and emotional response of the community," he pointed out.

Apart from this, it was impractical to expect a single GO to be issued in a dozen languages such as Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Tulu, Konkani, Kodava and Urdu. When people whose mother tongue was not Kannada were perfectly happy learning Kannada and accepting it as the working language and the State language, where was the need for such an effort, which would turn out to be a drain on the resources of the State, he asked.

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