Former deputy chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today requested Union surface transport minister Nitin Gadkari to ensure primacy of Punjabi language on all signboards on national highways in Punjab.Mr Badal, who has also written to Mr Gadkari in this regard, said it was unfortunate that Punjabi was not being given primacy on sign boards on the national highways in the State. “I request you to give requisite directions to correct this anomaly immediately”, he said in a communication to the Union minister.The former deputy CM said the current treatment meted out to Punjabi language on sign boards had not only hurt the sentiments of the people who felt their mother tongue should be properly reflected on sign boards but also causing inconvenience. “Punjabis would be more comfortable with Punjabi on top on all sign boards as they constitute the majority of commuters on State roads”, he added.
Stating that due respect be accorded to Punjabi as state language, Mr Badal said “we are not against any language but feel the sentiments of Punjabis should also be accorded due respect”. He also urged that all signboards on national highways should have all signs in Punjabi, Hindi and English in descending order.The Akali supremo also pointed out that there was a provision for the same in the Punjab Official Language Act, 1963 which stipulated that Punjabi should be written on top in all official sign boards. He said taking this in view all signboards of the National Highway Authority should be in consonance with the Official Language Act. He expressed confidence that the Union Surface Transport ministry would give the issue the importance it deserved and ensure Punjabi occupied top space on all sign boards in Punjab.