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No Kannada on Signboard? Cosmopolitan Bengaluru Could Lose Thousands of Shops

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) has started conducting raids across the city to check if shops and establishments have signages written in Kannada.

Stacy Pereira | CNN-News18

Updated:August 13, 2018, 7:42 AM IST
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No Kannada on Signboard? Cosmopolitan Bengaluru Could Lose Thousands of Shops
Representative image. (PTI Photo)
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Bengaluru: The undercurrents of a language war seems to be resurfacing in IT city Bengaluru.

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) has started conducting raids across the city to check if shops and establishments have signages written in Kannada.

The civic body has sent notices to 3,681 establishments, asking them to ensure that their display boards have 60% of its visual representation in Kannada, or else they could lose their trade licenses.

The drive was kicked off on July 30 after a few pro-Kannada leaders met with the Mayor and asked him to check on the issue as they felt that the city was looking 'like a foreign country' with many commercial establishments not using Kannada signboards.

"We have given all these shops a 15-day deadline to ensure their 60% of their signboards are written in Kannada. So far, in eight zones we have removed 515 boards that were written only in other languages and issued notices to 3,681 establishments. We have also collected fines worth Rs 16,500," said BBMP's Chief Health Officer Dr Manorajan Hegde, who is leading the drive.

During the raids, it was noticed that shops in malls were the most non-compliant, whereas many others have Kannada representation in much smaller fonts and definitely not adhering to the 60:40 ratio. So far, none of the licenses have been revoked. After a 15-day deadline, the BBMP will take strict action.

The civic body had conducted a similar drive in July 2017, after direction from the Chairman of the Karnataka Development Authority, G Siddaramaiah. However, after the initial few raids and warnings, the drive fizzled out. This time around the KDA chief is confident that BBMP will implement the rule in its true spirit.

"The Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1961 states that the name boards of all establishments should be in Kannada and if other languages are used, it should be written below the Kannada version," G Siddaramaiah reiterated.

Bengaluru's citizens, however, seem to have a mixed view of how this move could pan out.

Swarna, a resident of Indira Nagar says that in a cosmopolitan city like Bengaluru, having 60% representation in Kannada might be difficult. "It will be very difficult for an outsider. If they do not want Hindi imposition, they should at least allow for a 50-50 representation in English and Kannada."

Geeta, another resident believes that it is time to preserve indigenous languages and hence is in complete favour of BBMP’s move.
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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