Display boards in Bengaluru
Display boards in BengaluruAmal Rasheedali

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike's (BBMP) new rule on prioritising Kannada signboards for commercial establishments in the city has mixed opinions among the shopkeepers and traders.

According to the new rule, which is going to be introduced on November 1, the display boards of any establishment in Bengaluru should be 60 percent in Kannada in a specific format and 40 percent English. BBMP will not issue the trade licence or cancel it if an establishment fails to comply with the proposed rule.

This rule was introduced in 2017 after the Kannada Development Authority directed the civic administration to ensure that all commercial establishments including malls had signboards in Kannada.


However, some faction believes that this language hurdle can create quite a trouble for the people in Bengaluru who are not from Karnataka as more than half of the population in the city consists of people from all over India and world. And even though the rule has been passed by the state government majority of the establishments in the state has not followed this.

What the traders have to say

Speaking to some of the shop owners about the new rule, we found that the new display board rule does not affect the business of small establishments like bakeries, tea shops or other eateries. A shopkeeper from Malleshwaram, who owns a small bakery told International Business Times that the new rule will not affect establishments like his.

"This is one of the busiest streets in the city and most of the passer-by's come to my shop for a quick snack, tea or cigarettes. The name board which I now have is an old one sponsored by a company and mine is a bakery, so people coming here knows what they want and a language or sign won't change the fact that mine is a bakery," he said.

Another man said that BBMP has done the right thing with the new rule as Kannada is being forgotten by the people and people who are working here should make an effort to learn the language. "It is not like English is being completely neglected that people will find it hard. 10 percent more of font in Kannada will not make a difference," he said.

With this, big establishments like shopping malls or jewellery also remain unaffected as they act as a landmark. Pratheek, a college student and native of Kammanahalli said, "In a cosmopolitan city like Bengaluru, having 60 percent visual representation in Kannada might be difficult for outsiders as our eyes always tend to go towards the bigger font. For an outsider trying to identify a store while he is on the move will be difficult," he said.