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Public seek bi-lingual boards on buses

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LANGUAGE PROBLEM: A growing cosmopolitan culture in the city calls for route boards in English and Tamil. - PHOTO S. SIVA SARAVANAN
LANGUAGE PROBLEM: A growing cosmopolitan culture in the city calls for route boards in English and Tamil. - PHOTO S. SIVA SARAVANAN

Pankaja Srinivasan

In rush hour, desperate queries from commuters often go unanswered In rush hour, desperate queries from commuters often go unanswered; `only the Government is empowered to change'

COIMBATORE: "I feel like an educated illiterate," says a frustrated Subramanya, an IT professional from Bangalore. "I have often missed or got on to the wrong bus only because I cannot read Tamil."

In rush hour, there are desperate queries from commuters that often go unanswered and they realise they are on the wrong bus only when the conductor comes to them.

60,000 people

This is the first problem, people new to Coimbatore, especially from other States, encounter. There are nearly 60,000 people from West Bengal, Bihar, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and other States, says Gautam Suman, trustee, Rajasthani Sangh. Bi-lingual destination boards on buses will be of great help to them.

"There is no law that prohibits the use of English on the boards, but none that makes it compulsory either," says K. Kathirmathiyon, Secretary, Coimbatore Consumer Cause. "This matter can be referred to the Transport Advisory Committee and a change can be brought about," he says.

The Deputy Transport Commissioner, K. Yogarajan, cites Rule 261 of the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles Rules - "Both termini of the route on which the stage carriage is plying shall be clearly specified in Tamil and also in English if necessary, with boards placed at the top of the rear and front of the vehicle."

Too much space

G. Thirumurthy, Deputy Manager, Industrial Relations, TNSTC, says: "On public request, we have ensured that bus numbers are displayed large enough to be visible from a distance. The problem is bi-lingual boards take up too much space."

The Regional Transport Officer (RTO), South, S. Velumani, points out that it is not binding on the authorities to use English.

"Only the Tamil Nadu Government is empowered to change that. A representation can be made to the Transport Commissioner in Chennai."

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