Mumbai The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has extended until June 30 the deadline for the installation of signs in Marathi in all shops and establishments in Mumbai.

City Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal said the deadline has been extended to June 30. There are more than five lakh shop owners in the city and most of them are small business owners and taking widespread probation against them will only increase the burden on the court and the civic body Chahal told HT on Thursday.

“Therefore, we have decided to grant them an extension and in the meantime, our ward level officials will contact store owners and sensitize them. After that, we will conduct a field survey between July 1 and July 15 to identify if any shops and business owners have broken the rules, after which we will take evidentiary action against them,” Chahal said.

Earlier in May, senior officials said they would impose a sentence of 2,000 on each of the store workers who fail to offer signs in Marathi from June 10.

“We have held several meetings with retail associations and business owners in the city, including representatives from some malls as well and all have agreed to abide by the rules,” an official said.

Chahal said commercial establishments located on main roads, malls, alleyways and secondary roads will be required to follow the rules and the BMC will prepare a special team and set of guidelines to monitor this issue at ground level.

Viren Shah, chairman of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA), said more than 40% of shops in Mumbai have their names written in Marathi but in smaller fonts.

“The BMC should not take aggressive action against merchants and give them time to make the changes because replacing signs is a time-consuming process and no one is able to do it overnight. We welcome the decision to grant us an extension and at the same time we will ask them to raise awareness about this issue as most business owners are still unaware,” Shah said.

Earlier in April, the BMC issued a notification stating that all shops and commercial establishments in the city must have the names of their establishments written in Marathi and Devanagari script, as well as any other language.

The notification further stated that the font size of the letters in Marathi should be prominent and larger than the size of any other language on the board and set the deadline for implementation as May 31.

BMC’s decision came a month after the state legislature approved the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Amendment Act 2017.