HYDERABAD: A fresh controversy is brewing with mayor Banda Karthika Reddy championing the cause of Telugu and Urdu languages.
Ahead of the meeting of the standing committee this week, the mayor on Tuesday proposed that all shop owners, shopping malls, hospitals, schools and other establishments under the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits put up name boards in Telugu and prominently at that.
Out of the five lakh-odd trade establishments under the GHMC limits, over 95 per cent have name boards in English and very few in Telugu and Urdu, she lamented.
Karthika Reddy said that as Telugu is the official language and Urdu is declared as the second language, it is the primary duty of all shop owners to display their shop names in Telugu.
“Urdu could be the second option,” she observed.
According to her, it is not acceptable if shop owners display names in Telugu at some corner.
Shop owners can indicate names of their establishments in other languages like English or Hindi as third and fourth options.
The standing committee, which will meet this week, is likely to pass a resolution making it mandatory for all the shop owners to display the shop name boards in Telugu and Urdu.
Shop owners seeking new trade licences or renewal through an eSeva centre or the Citizen Service Centres (CSCs) might be asked to put their name boards in Telugu, failing which action might be taken as per the Corporation Act like cancellation of licences.
In 2007 and 2008, the Labour Department had directed shops and establishments to display the name boards in local languages or face prosecution.
Punishment for non-compliance was imprisonment up to three months under the AP Shops and Establishment Act, 1988.
But the move backfired following severe criticism from various quarters and the department had to beat a hasty retreat.
Drawing comparisons with other states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra, Karthika Reddy said if other states were enforcing the adoption of official languages by shop owners what was the problem in doing so under the GHMC limits.
The main idea is to promote the official language in a big way, she said.
The mayor’s call, however, has not gone down well with several shop owners in the city.
Many of them pointed out that they have their names as per their customs and sentiments.
“How could anyone force one to have a name in a particular language?” wondered a shop owner in Ameerpet.