'Experts to consider demand for Kannada and Telugu languages'

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New Delhi, Jul 7 (UNI) Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni has told a Congress delegation of Karnataka led by its President M Mallikarjuna Kharge a panel of experts will consider its demand for according classical status to Kannada and Telugu languages next month.

Reacting to the demand, Ms Soni said a committee of linguistic experts was examining the issue of granting classical language status to Kannada and Telugu languages. The panel had discussed the matter in its meeting last month and efforts were on to arrive at a consensus.

''The next meeting is scheduled on August 8 here and once the decision is reached, it will be forwarded to the Centre for further action,'' the Minister told the delegation.

The leaders had received similar assurance from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when they called on him yesterday. Former Karnataka Chief Minister N Dharam Singh and two Union Ministers Oscar Fernandes and K H Muniappa also formed part of the Congress team that met that met Dr Singh.

Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have been demanding classical language status for Kannada and Telugu languages since both fulfil the yardsticks prescribed for the status. Besides, both the languages are as old as Tamil, which has been granted the status recently.

The Congress did not join the all-party delegation led by Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa last week and chose to take an alternative delegation both on seeking amendment to Article 371 of the Constitution providing for regional reservation for people of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

It also sought stepping up of fertiliser supplies to the state although there was ''hoarding and mismanagement'' of the existing stocks at the hands of middlemen and authorities.

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