The Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) activists on Thursday blackened the English signboards of a few shops in Nashik city of Maharashtra, reported the PTI.

They alleged that the business establishments had not displayed their names in the Marathi (Devanagari) script in bold letters, as per the PTI.

A group of MNS workers, including women members, targeted shops with English signboards in the College Road area and asked their owners to have signboards in Marathi in two days. They also blackened some of the English signboards.

The Supreme Court earlier gave shops and other commercial establishments in the state a two-month deadline (which ended on November 25) to install Marathi signboards.

Meanwhile, The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is taking action against shops and establishments not displaying signboards in Marathi (Devanagari) script. During a visit to 3,269 shops, BMC found 176 without compliant signboards, violating the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments Act, 2018, amended in 2022. Non-compliant shops face a penalty of R2,000 per staffer, up to a maximum of Rs 1,00,000.

In A ward, BMC visited 300 shops in Colaba and Fort, finding three shops without compliant signboards. Sanjay Sonar, senior inspector of Shop and Establishment, A ward, said, “We`ve notified these shops and will verify their licenses, imposing fines if needed. Non-payment could lead to court action. We have fined Nike retailer, Puma showroom and Inshaallah Mashaallah perfume and textile shop.” Viren Shah, president of The Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association, said that most shops comply but very few shops do not have the signboards as they need to change the full board.

N Ward (Ghatkopar) tops the non-compliance list with 18 out of 89 shops not meeting regulations. S Ward (Bhandup, Vikhroli, Powai) has 14 out of 142 non-compliant shops, and H West (Bandra, Khar West) has 12 out of 142. The BMC plans to continue inspections.

According to Rule 35 and Section 36C of the Act, establishment nameplates must be in bold Marathi Devanagari script. The Supreme Court set a two-month deadline, ending November 25, 2023, to change the signboards. BMC initiated verifications from Tuesday due to holidays.

(with PTI inputs)

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