Bengal gives second language status to Urdu in 18 areas

West Bengal government on Friday accorded second language status to Urdu specially in those areas where over 10 per cent of population as per 2001 and 2010 census speaks the language.

This is for the first time in the state that Urdu language has been given official recognition as second language, state's Commerce and Industries minister Partha Chatterjee said after a Cabinet meeting.

State's Municipal Affairs Minister Fihad Hakim said the decision taken at the state cabinet today fulfilled a longstanding demand by the Urdu-speaking people in the state. He said that the step was also in consonance with the promise made earlier by Mamata Banerjee after she took over as Chief Minister in May last year.

Hakim also greeted Urdu-speaking people and said that they would benefit by the government's decision.

Altogether 18 areas, including Goalpokhar I and II blocks, Islalmpur block, Kolkata Municipal Corporation, Islampur Municipality, Garulia Municipality, Titagarh Municipality, Kamarhati Municipality, Bhatpara Municipality, Champdani Municipality, Bansberia Municipality, Bhadreswar Municipality, Rishra Municipality, Asansol Municipal Corporation, Jamuria Municipality, Raniganj Municipality, Kulti Municipality and Bally Municipality areas had been identified as having 10 per cent or close to it Urdu-speaking population, he said.

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