In its drive against non-Kannada display boards in Bengaluru, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) has started conducting raids across the city to check if shops have signboards written in Kannada. It has also reportedly issued notices to 3,681 establishments, warning them that they could lose their trade license in the next 15 days if 60 per cent of their signboard is not in Kannada.
“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,” BBMP’s Chief Health Officer Dr Manorajan Hegde told News 18.
According to the Karnataka Shops and Commercial Establishments Act, 1961, the name on board of any commercial establishment should have Kannada as the major language. If any other language is used on the signages, it should be below the Kannada version, the Act states.
The raids were initiated on July 30 after a few pro-Kannada leaders complained to the Mayor that the capital city was looking ‘like a foreign country’ with many establishments not complying with the rule. The leaders complained that while many commercial establishments chose to ignore the 60:40 ratio, others used smaller fonts for Kannada.
The BBMP had conducted a similar raid in July 2017, following the directions of Kannada Development Authority (KDA). The KDA is also pushing for having Kannada versions of various departments of the state government. Earlier last year, Hindi signboards in the vicinity of 40 Metro stations in Bengaluru were removed after pro-Kannada activists defaced them.