Punjabi language resolution passed

Seeks first language status in the Union Territory of Chandigarh

All members of Punjab Assembly display rare unity in passing the resolution

It seeks to make Punjabi language compulsory in all schools of the Union Territory

Chandigarh: Amid rare unity between ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and Opposition members, the Punjab Assembly on Monday passed a resolution seeking first language status for Punjabi in the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

Earlier, members cutting across party lines expressed anguish over Punjabi not getting the required “recognition, respect and regard” in Chandigarh, the Capital of Punjab and Haryana.

The resolution, moved by Education Minister Upinderjit Kaur, sought making Punjabi language compulsory in all schools in the Union Territory from Class I to X.

The resolution also demanded setting up of a Punjab Sahitya Academy in Chandigarh.

The Minister told the House that Chandigarh had been set up after displacing 28 villages of Punjab on 30,000 acres of land. However, Punjabi failed to get the recognition, respect and regard in Chandigarh, she said as the House displayed rare unanimity on the matter.

Speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon said the demand for a first language status for Punjabi was “good” as Ms. Kaur opined “Punjabi language is our identity”.

The House passed the resolution a day before Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal is slated to meet the State Governor Shivraj Patil, who is also the Administrator of Chandigarh, on the issue.

“Punjabi language must be used in official work along with other languages, and signboards on roads and at public places must have Punjabi language along with other languages,” the resolution said. The Minister told the House that 90 per cent of the population of Chandigarh speaks Punjabi.

Congress members including Ajit Inder Singh Mofar, Brahm Mohindra, Avtar Singh Brar and Makhan Singh supported the resolution.

Leader of the Opposition Rajinder Kaur Bhattal said Punjabi language must be religiously adopted in official work in Punjab.

The Education Minister hailed the decision of the Delhi and Haryana governments to accord second language status to Punjabi. -- PTI