The residents of Bangalore are who cannot read Kannada face difficulties finding departments in government offices. Kumar Divyanshu, a resident of Bengaluru, had to ask around the BBMP office for more than five times for a department he wanted to visit to register a complaint and meet the particular official. The reason? None of the signboards were in English.
“Once I visited the BBMP office and wanted to go to one of the departments but everything was written in Kannada. So, I was not able to understand anything. They should write everything in English as well so that everybody can understand it.” said a troubled Divyanshu.
The BBMP head office located at Hudson Circle is where citizens can register complaints on civic issues. The whole premise has signboards only in Kannada, which adheres to the regulations for the local government. However, a large number of residents in Bengaluru are migrants who cannot read Kannada. This adds to their struggles of settling in a city already foreign to them.
“The BBMP is a local, quasi-government body which is meant to help the local people. It is run by the local government, so everything must be in Kannada. If you look across all BBMP offices, it is all written in Kannada.” stated K. Subrahmanyam, Supervisor of Control Room, BBMP head office. He insisted on the prevalence of Kannada language in offices and said people can register complaints on the site.
Deepti, a lawyer who has dealt with many civic issues opined, “The BBMP officials should focus on setting up a grievance cell with someone who knows the three languages and all the southern languages so that people can directly be guided by them. In addition to this, they can have a big map with the description of offices in both Kannada and English in the corridor or at an open space to help the citizens navigate through the premises.”
If the BBMP installs signs in English in their offices it will surely ease the problems of many citizens.