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Pondy set to drop French tag

After Blue chip Bangalore, Pondicherry will snap its French link in favour of Puducherry, writes Rajnish Sharma.

india Updated: May 10, 2006 02:54 IST

Calcutta sheds Raj baggage, becomes Kolkata. Madras reverts to flavours of home, turns Chennai. Upmarket Bombay gives a thumbs up to amchi Mumbai. Blue chip Bangalore is lucky. It is yet to become Bengaluru. And now Pondicherry wants to snap its French link in favour of Puducherry.

A Bill to this effect will be introduced in the Parliament session beginning Wednesday.

Ministry sources said leaders cutting across party lines have made several representations to the Centre requesting that Pondicherry be re-christened.

The name is a French legacy. The UT was under French occupation for more than 130 years before quitting in 1954.

Ministry officials said the “spiritual retreat” — a chunk of the sea-facing UT makes up Auroville, seer Aurobindo's commune — had witnessed several agitations over renaming. Puducherry in Tamil means “new hamlet”.

“Even now in some pockets, this area is known as Puducherry. In view of the increasing demand from elected representatives and the people, the Centre has agreed to change the name,” a senior ministry official said.

The agitation over renaming gained ground after the re-christening of the three metros. As Pondicherry is a Union Territory, it is mandatory for the home ministry to seek Parliament’s consent before giving it a new name.

First Published: May 10, 2006 01:26 IST