Marathi signboard: No extension of deadline

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Mumbai, Sep 1: On Sunday, Aug 31, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena(MNS) chief Raj Thackeray said that he has rejected an appeal from shopkeepers for a three-month extension to the deadline to paint name boards in Marathi.

The MNS had kept Aug 28 as the deadline. However, the Shiv Sena said Raj was taking credit for a campaign initiated by the MCGM which is controlled by it. Raj said this was the first time the state has seen a huge change in favour of Marathi due the MNS campaign.

He said that his party would first peruse action taken by the state government and municipal corporations on defaulting establishments before announcing their own plan of action. After the BMC issued a deadline of Aug 28 for shops to ensure that their signages included their names in Devnagari script, the MNS chief backed off from his aggressive stance on dealing with non-compliance after the Bombay High Court came down heavily on him and the state government on the issue.

Raj, who had sought to enforce the BMC deadline, had backed off by pointing out that a number of shop keepers had made the change and had asked his cadre to refrain from violence against defaulting businesses.

“After the Maharashtra Navanirman Sena raised the issue of Marathi name boards in Maharashtra and pursued it relentlessly to its logical conclusion, everyone from the state government to the traders were shaken up, and boards in Marathi were put up in cities across Maharashtra. Most of the locations saw the Marathi name boards being put up, while many people are in the process of preparing these boards. After this change which was seen in Maharashtra for the first time, we asked our associates to lie low for the moment," said Raj, in a signed statement issued on Sunday, Aug 31.

Raj added that a delegation of traders had met him and asked for the deadline to be extended by another three to four months and said that the media had not reported his reply to the request. A delegation of members of the Federation of Maharashtra Stationary Manufacturers and Traders Association met Raj at his Dadar residence on Friday.

"These people have not been given nor will be given any more time," said the statement, adding that the party was watching how the state government and municipal corporations in Mumbai and the rest of the state were acting on the establishments that were yet to put up the Marathi signboards. "We will take a decision later on the action to be taken," said Raj, adding that the traders have not been given any extended deadline.

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