Tamil Nadu

Southern Railway withdraws ‘Hindi’ circular amid protests

Chennai Central DMK MP Dayanidhi Maran submits a memorandum to Southern Railway General Manager (in-charge) Rahul Jain, in Chennai on June 14, 2019.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Two days after issuing an order directing Section Controllers and Stations Masters to communicate only in English or Hindi and avoid the regional language, the Southern Railway hastily withdrew the circular on Friday following political uproar and protests by the All India Railwaymen Federation (AIRF).

The revised circular, issued on Friday by Principal Chief Operations Manager S. Anantharaman, says senior officials should ensure that communications between Control Room and Station Masters are clearly understood without any ambiguity.

On Wednesday, the Operations department of the Southern Railway had issued the controversial circular instructing that “communication between the Divisional Control Officer and the Station Masters should be either in English or in Hindi and the use of regional language should be avoided to prevent either side not understanding what is being said”.

Many Opposition leaders, including DMK president M.K. Stalin, Dravidar Kazhagam leader K. Veeramani, PMK founder S. Ramadoss and MDMK leader Vaiko, had issued statements that strongly criticised the move.

Chennai Central DMK MP Dayanidhi Maran met Southern Railway General Manager (in-charge) Rahul Jain and expressed concern over the developments. “The GM told me that the circular was wrongly issued, and agreed to withdraw it immediately. The issue relates to overcrowding of a Station Master’s room in Madurai Division that led to a communication gap resulting in two trains coming on a collision course on the same track. Instead of rectifying the issue of overcrowding, this circular on the language of communication was issued... it has now been withdrawn and status quo prevails,” Mr. Maran told The Hindu.

Mr. Vaiko condemned the circular saying that the move was nothing but an attempt to impose Hindi on the people of Tamil Nadu.

AIRF working president N. Kanniah wrote to the Principal Chief Operations Manager stating that the circular had caused widespread resentment among employees who felt that it was a backdoor attempt to impose Hindi on them.

“Language is only a medium of communication between individuals or groups and if there is difficulty in understanding a particular language there is no harm in switching over to a commonly known language. But citing a stray incident of communication gap to ban the use of local language, Tamil in this case, is improper and unwarranted...this has now become a linguistic issue drawing the attention of political parties and the State Government,” Mr. Kanniah said.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 4:09:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/southern-railway-withdraws-hindi-circular-amid-protests/article27925680.ece

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