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Karnataka: Businesses to lose licence if Kannada signage rule not followed

Mangalore Today News Network

Bengaluru, Feb 15, 2024: The Karnataka government will cancel licences of businesses whose signage do not have 60 per cent Kannada, the Legislative Assembly was told even as a Bill on this was passed on Thursday.



The Kannada Language Comprehensive Development (Amendment) Bill mandates 60 per cent use of Kannada in signage of commercial, industrial and business undertakings, trusts, counselling centres, hospitals, laboratories, amusement centres and hotels.

Currently, the law requires the use of Kannada in the “upper-half portion” of boards displaying the names of businesses without specifying the percentage.

Piloting the Bill, Kannada & Culture Minister Shivaraj Tangadagi said the government is framing rules to enforce the law.

“In the rules, we’ll provide for cancellation of licences. Only when licences are cancelled will establishments feel the pinch. At the time of issuing fresh licences or renewing existing ones, we’ll first ensure they’ve complied with the Kannada signage rule,” Tangadagi told the Assembly.

The government will also insert fines in the rules, the minister added.

Tangadagi said the government will form task forces and an enforcement wing to ensure compliance. “In every district, the wing, comprising police personnel, will enforce the law,” he said.

The lack of Kannada use is a problem only in Bengaluru, Tangadagi said. “In other parts of the state, people speak Kannada only,” he said.

In Bengaluru, the government will form committees in each of the eight municipal zones. “These committees will receive complaints on Kannada. We’re also coming out with an app called Kangavalu for this,” Tangadagi said.

Welcoming the Bill, Leader of the Opposition R Ashoka stressed on monetary fines. “It’s the only thing that’ll work. Otherwise, (establishments) won’t care about court cases,” he said.

Senior BJP lawmaker S Suresh Kumar said having to enact a law for Kannada was in itself painful. “Why have people taken this for granted? If businesses aren’t displaying Kannada, it’s a mindset issue,” he said. “People have lust, not love, for Bengaluru. They don’t think it’s their city. But their customers are Kannadigas,” he said, underlining the significance of enforcing the law.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition Arvind Bellad sought clarity on the 60 per cent Kannada mandate. “How will this work when six letters of English become three in Kannada? How is the 60 per cent calculated then? This must be clarified or else there’ll be problems in implementation,” he said.

The Siddaramaiah administration is amending the law in the wake of violent protests by pro-Kannada outfits that targeted businesses in Bengaluru for not giving prominence to the state language.

The Bill will now go to the Legislative Council.

Courtesy: Deccan Herald

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