The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Call for tribal tongue

Bhubaneswar, June 28: Assembly Speaker Maheswar Mohanty today assured House members that he would make “necessary arrangements” for the use of Santhali in the Assembly proceedings, if there were a sizeable number of legislators who speak the language.

The assurance came from the Chair during the question hour today after several members protested against the alleged neglect of the language and urged the Speaker to allow Santhali to be spoken in the House.

The language is recognised by the Constitution.

Mayurbhanj MLA Draupadi Murmu spoke a few words in Santhali during the question-answer programme to press for the demand.

“If a sizeable number of members wish to use Santhali during the Assembly regularly, then we will appoint translators and reporters, who are conversant in the language,” assured the Speaker, Maheswar Mohanty .

Sananda Marandi from the BJP and Sambhunath Naik of the SUCI demanded that news be broadcast in Santhali. To prove their points, the duo cited the example of neighbouring state of Bengal.

On his part, the information and public relations minister, Debasis Nayak, said the state has already requested the director-general of Prasar Bharati to consider the request. The chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, has also taken up the matter with the Centre in the past.

However, the demand would be raised yet again during a meeting of the information and public relations minister, scheduled to be held in New Delhi shortly, Nayak added.

For the records, in Orissa, students are allowed to write their papers in Santhali and Orissa Sahitya Academy publishes books in this tribal language.

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