The Punjab assembly on Monday passed a unanimous resolution recommending to the state government to take steps to make Punjabi a compulsory subject in all schools till Class 10 and make available court orders in the language.
The official resolution, moved by technical education and industrial training minister Charanjit Singh Channi, was supported by all members present, including those from the opposition Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
The suggestion to make the court orders available in Punjabi was given by the leader of opposition Harpal Singh Cheema and included in the official resolution along with another suggestion for their implementation in Chandigarh also.
In the resolution, the assembly also recommended to the state government to enact a law along with proper arrangements to check the activities against the promotion of Punjabi language by an individual or undertaking.
“This House welcomes every positive step taken by the state government to promote the mother tongue of Punjab and appreciates the state government for its notification issued for giving priority to Punjab language,” it read.
Channi, while tabling the resolution, said Punjabi was 12th among the 7,000 languages in the world as 16 crore people spoke the language across 150 countries.
“According to UNO, 2,000 of these languages will become extinct in 50 years and Punjabi is one of them,” he said before stressing the need to promote and prioritise the language.
The minister also raised the issue of some schools punishing students for speaking Punjabi and suggested steps, including setting up of a commission, for taking action against such institutions. He also suggested translation of all rules of the state assembly in Punjabi.
Welcoming the official resolution, SAD legislature party leader Sharanjit Singh Dhillon suggested this move was for the good of Punjab. “Punjabi should be made mandatory not just in government but also the convent schools,” he added.
Lok Insaaf Party MLA Simarjit Singh Bains drew the attention of the House towards the exams conducted by the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) and Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) for recruitment, saying their question papers were in English.
AAP member Kultar Singh Sandhwan said the governor and the chief minister should also address the assembly in Punjabi. “If they do not speak in Punjabi, we will boycott their speeches,” he said, adding, “We should take the lead by using Punjabi in the House”.
Leader of opposition Harpal Singh Cheema said a tribunal should be set up to take action against those who do not implement Punjabi. He also demanded a grant of Rs 5 crore to the cash-starved central library, Patiala, and filling of all vacant posts in the languages department.
SAD member Harinder Pal Singh Chandumajra suggested that science and commerce courses, particularly those related to agriculture, should also be taught in Punjabi in colleges and universities. The assembly then adopted the resolution unanimously.