Plea for making Hindi more visible on Kochi Metro

Plea for making Hindi more visible on Kochi Metro
The furore over Hindi signboards for Namma Metro may not have shown signs of dying down in Bengaluru but Kochi, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi opened Kerala’s first Metro rail network on June 17, is providing an interesting contrast.

For the 13.26-km first phase of Kochi Metro, the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) has gone for signage that denotes station names in three languages – Malayalam, English and Hindi. There have been no signs of dissent, so far, over the Hindi signage; KMRL, in fact, is weighing its options as it considers a request for greater prominence for Hindi on the station sign boards.

The Department of Official Language, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, has sought an “elevation” of Hindi on the station signage, from the present third rung to the second, next only to Malayalam. KMRL spokesperson Rashmi C R confirmed there was a request from the department. “Since the signage for the first phase has already been completed, we are looking at possibilities of incorporating the suggestion during the next phase,” Rashmi told DH.

KMRL has used only Malayalam and English for some of the other station signs including the ones indicating platform numbers and entry/exit markings.

Rashmi said KMRL had to take the “liberty” of using only Malayalam and English for in-train announcements. “Since the distance between stations is short compared to Metros in other cities, we found accommodating Hindi in the announcements difficult,” she said.

Kochi has, over the past few years, reflected in many ways Kerala’s mass intake of migrant labourers who were also a key component in the construction of the city’s own Metro network. Suburban Perumbavoor, a wood industry hub with companies that employ thousands of migrant labourers, had earlier hit headlines for its buses and shops with Bangla and Hindi signage.

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