GUWAHATI, July 23 - Fearing a drastic decline in the percentage of Assamese speakers in Assam in the 2021 census, apex literary body Asam Sahitya Sabha today said it was high time to implement a language policy in the State.
After holding a meeting with the seven literary bodies of different ethnic communities of the State, the Sabha expressed the hope that all literary bodies would soon reach a consensus for a policy that ensures due status to Assamese and other mother tongues spoken in the State to preserve and promote them.
Addressing the media here, Sabha president Dr Paramananda Rajbongshi held both the State government and the universities of Assam responsible for the poor condition of Assamese language in the State.
�Languages and mother tongue data of 2011 census released by the census authorities have revealed that the number of Assamese speakers has reduced to 48.3 per cent. The Assam Sahitya Sabha believes that by 2021 census the same would be nearly 25-30 per cent if steps are not taken on time,� Rajbongshi said.
The Asam Sahitya Sabha will meet all the other literary bodies of the State again on August 3 to mitigate all the differences within the organisations over the issue, before taking up the matter with the State government on August 4.
Sahitya Sabhas representing Bodo, Rabha, Tiwa, Dimasa, Mising, Deuri and Karbi communities participated in today�s meet.
�The government has failed miserably in implementing the Assam State Language Act whereas our universities have also failed in their duty towards the Assamese language. Assamese medium textbooks have disappeared at the higher education level and are especially not to be found in case of major subjects,� he said.
The Sabha has fixed a time of two months for the universities to take action for promoting Assamese language. It also asked the private institutions of the State to give an action taken report on their contribution towards the promotion of Assamese language among their students and staff.
The literary body also alleged that whereas institutions like the Reserve Bank of India and Oil India Limited give advertisements in Assamese language, several departments of the State government and also many of the multinational companies operating in the State do not bother about doing so.
�The government and other companies must also act within this two month�s time and not compel us to start another language movement in Assam,� Rajbongshi said.