Beginning November 1, all commercial establishments that do not have nameplates in the Kannada language run the risk of losing their trade licences and the display boards dismantled by the city administration.
Bengaluru Mayor, M Gowtham Kumar said, “Shops, eateries, commercial establishments and the multiplex need to have the information in Kannada. The boards are allowed to have 40% English, while the remaining should be in Kannada. If they do not do this from November 1, we will cancel their licences.”
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) plans to implement the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1961 (Rule 24-A), which states: “The nameplates of every establishment shall be in Kannada and if any other language is used, it should be below the version.” It is to be noted that many shops in the Central Business District (CBD) area and most of the shops in the city just have English display boards.
Last year the Kannada Development Authority (KDA) had conducted a meeting with the BBMP officials and instructed them to cancel the license of the shops that do not have 60 per cent of the nameplates in the state language, but it was not effectively implemented. The order is based on the Sarojini Mahishi report, which says that all nameplates should have Kannada covering 60% of the nameplate, while the rest 40% can be in any other language.
“However, the final decision will be taken in the BBMP council meeting. We ensure that it is implemented from November 1 (Karnataka Rajyotsava). Trade licences will be renewed only when prominence is given to Kannada in the nameplates,” added, Gowtham Kumar.
BBMP Commissioner B H Anil Kumar said “there was no precondition for trade licences. But as per building bylaws, Kannada display should be 60% of the nameplates of the commercial establishments.”
Meanwhile, in 2017, a case was filed in Karnataka High Court against the BBMP when the proposal was first mooted. Since no amendment to the Act was made, many commercial establishments moved the court against BBMP.