Dr. Dipen Agrawal, President of Chamber of Associations of Maharashtra Industry & Trade (CAMIT) said that the recent decision of Cabinet making it mandatory for every establishment to write the signboard in Marathi has not gone well with the business community of the State. Particularly the intimidating language used by men in power to implement the unconstitutional decision. CAMIT in its representation sent to Chief Minister â€“ Uddhav Thackeray, Labour Minister â€“ Hassan Mushrif; Labour Minister (State) – Bachchu Kadu and Principal Secretary â€“ Vinita Ved Singhal has vehemently protested the cabinet decision dated January 12, 2022 by which it was decided that signboards of all shops & establishments to be compulsorily in Marathi language, the Marathi script should to on top in biggest font size amongst other languages. Also, it was decided to implement it on all shops and establishments across the state including shops employing less than 10 persons which was earlier exempted.
Dr. Agrawal said that the decision is not only ultra-virus to the provisions of Maharashtra Shop & Establishments Act, 2017 and infringes the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution of India, it is also detrimental for small and marginal establishments and self-employed entrepreneurs. They have incurred heavy loss of business due to frequent lockdowns and restrictions imposed by government since March 2020 and are struggling for survival.
In the intervening of third wave of pandemic the government instead of extending a helping hand towards the traders has placed them under unwarranted financial burden somewhere between Rs. 5000/- to Rs. 50000/- for changing the signboards during such testing times, which state government could have avoided to do so. The traders are citizens of Maharashtra and have high regards and natural love for Marathi language. The decision mandating signboard in Marathi for every establishment is arbitrary and without any rationale behind it, added Dipen Agrawal.Â
Dr. Dipen Agrawal, said that powers to take action and impose penalty tends to increase inspector raj, corruption and harassment to traders. The government should desist itself from imposing such uncalled-for decisions else trade bodies will be left with no other option than to knock the doors of High Court for justice.
Dr. Agrawal, on behalf of trading community of the state has requested Uddhav Thackeray, Chief Minister to reverse the cabinet decision, and at the least exempt establishments employing up to 10 persons from the proposed amendment and in alternate Dr. Agrawal demanded that state government should bear the cost of changing existing signboard with Marathi signboard.