The Shiv Sena-ruled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has rejected fresh attempts by the civic administration to bring English back in the civic body.
After persistent demands from non-Marathi speaking corporators,particularly the Samajwadi Party,municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak had agreed to make an exception and provide the agenda of various civic meetings in English. But,Sena rejected the proposal. There is no need to circulate the agenda copies of meetings in English, the Sena leaders said.
Standing committee chairman Ravindra Waikar said: Introducing English language back is not necessary. Marathi is the mother tongue and the official language and everyone should learn it. There is no need to make exceptions for those who do not know the language.
After last years much-publicised linguistic politics aimed at winning the heart of the Marathi manoos,the Sena had cancelled the provision on use of English in proceedings of civic meetings and unanimously made 100 per cent implementation of the state language,Marathi.
Following a demand letter by SP group leader Shajiya Aslam to bring back English language in BMC,Phatak had said,In both the houses of the state legislature,few non-Marathi members are given order of the day of the meetings in English before the general work of the house would begin. We can attempt a similar procedure in BMC for the benefit of such corporators.
Aslam had said that while she and her party colleagues are not against the use of Marathi,at least the meeting agendas,draft letters,point of order in the general body meeting should be made available in English. She also pointed that barring a few corporators who were fluent in Marathi,others like her were suffering. We are unable to participate in any active discussions in the house or meetings due to the difficulty in understanding the language. This is now even showing its effect in civic works carried by us, she said.
At the behest of the ruling Shiv Sena,BMC had unanimously approved the proposal for 100 per cent use of Marathi language. While,Marathi is the official language of the BMC since 1971,the agenda and documents of civic meetings were printed in English language as well. Sena leaders had then said,Those who find difficulty with the language should either learn it or adjust with the situation.
The decision had created an uproar amongst non-Marathi speaking corporators.
At present,it is mandatory for head of the departments,assistant municipal commissioners and municipal employees to use Marathi in administrative work. Training classes are also held for employees to learn typing in Marathi and short-hand. Passing of the departmental Marathi exam is compulsory for non-Marathi employees.