Today's Paper

Union Government still silent on plea for ‘Bengaluru’

S. Rajendran

Corporate houses, TV channels have started using the new name

State has sought name change of 13 towns and cities

Delay in clearance is said to be over Belgaum

Bangalore: The city appears to be fast making way for Bengaluru with several major corporate houses and television channels adopting the new name. The official nod for the change in name has, however, not been given yet.

In fact, the change in the names of 13 towns and cities as sought by the State Government in the Suvarna Karnataka year is yet to receive the consent of the Union Government. And given the pace at which the important file of the State Government is moving in the secretariat of various Ministries at the Centre, it is unlikely that the name change will be cleared shortly. The file has been pending before the Union Home Ministry for nearly a year, despite repeated reminders from the State.

The Ministries of Communication, Railways, Civil Aviation and Defence have cleared the list.

Sources in the State Secretariat told The Hindu that in a way Karnataka was being “punished” for strictly going by the rulebook. Several other States, including Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, first changed the names of places officially and thereafter brought the matter to the notice of the Centre. Karnataka, on the other hand, sought the approval of the Centre first.

According to a senior official here, the Union Home Ministry has not cleared the file as Karnataka has sought to change the name of Belgaum as Belagavi. And with a petition of the Government of Maharashtra pertaining to the border dispute pending in the Supreme court, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil does not want to approve the name change of Belgaum until the matter is settled by the apex court.

A few weeks prior to submitting his resignation, the then Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy had appealed to the Union Home Minister to approve the list of changes and had reportedly received an assurance that it would be done.

Principal Secretary, Kannada and Culture, Information and Tourism, I.M. Vittalamurthy, who has been in touch with the Centre, exuded confidence that the approval would be granted shortly. “It is a State subject which requires the concurrence of the Centre. It will come through,” he said.

The Centre reportedly has no objection to permitting the change of 12 of the 13 names sent across by the State — Bangalore as Bengaluru, Mangalore as Mangaluru, Bellary as Ballari, Bijapur as Vijayapura, Chikmagalur as Chikkamagaluru, Gulbarga as Kalburagi, Mysore as Mysuru, Hospet as Hosapete, Shimoga as Shivamogga, Hubli as Hubbali, Tumkur as Tumakuru and Kaup as Kapu. Although a small town along the west coast, Kaup as Kapu was sought much earlier and has been pending with the Centre for years.

The sources said the objection only pertains to Belgaum as Belagavi, and Karnataka has categorically told the Centre that it would like to effect all the 13 changes at one go. If the State gives in to the objections (unofficial) raised by the Home Ministry, it could be read as neglect of Belgaum, and that would be construed as politically insensitive. It could also be seen as neglecting Belgaum’s interest. Kannada protagonists have said the name change should first start with Belgaum since Belagavi is closer to Kannada than Belgaum.

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