Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) chief Avtar Singh Makkar on Saturday claimed that the status of the Punjabi language had declined in the Union Territory (UT) of Chandigarh and the responsibility for this rested on the administration of the UT.
In a letter to Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, he urged the CM to intervene in the matter and "get the Punjabi language its due status in the UT". He said that despite repeatedly taking up this issue at different levels, neither the central government nor the UT administrator and Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil had done anything in this regard.
Pointing out that Punjabi was the second official language in Haryana, Makkar observed that it was rather strange that the UT administration has overlooked this fact. Punjabi no longer enjoys the second official language status in the UT and of late the UT administration has erased Punjabi from all signboards within its jurisdiction, he added in the letter.
Makkar stated that Chandigarh was carved out from villages which were part of Punjab. Most of the residents of these villages were Punjabi speaking, he said, while pointing out that even this aspect has been overlooked.
"Even now a vast majority of people residing in the UT are Punjabi speaking, hence the language needs to be accorded importance," he said in the letter.