Mandatory Telugu rule irks shop owners, government officials

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VIJAYAWADA: From July 18 onwards, commercial establishments which don’t display signboards in Telugu can be fined up to Rs.50,000. If the offence is repeated, the owner or management heads of the establishment will be put behind bars for three months.
Not just commercials establishments, if the government officials fail to use Telugu as the official language, they can be fined up to Rs.10,000. The State government issued GO 40 in this regard recently.
In fact, the proposal was made by ‘Telugu Bhasha Samskrutula Abhivruddhi Adhyayana Committee’ constituted by the State government on September 14, 2016, under the chairmanship of the then Minister for Language and Culture Palle Raghunatha Reddy and Parakala Prabhakar, Advisor of Communications to State government, Nagulapalli Srikanth, Secretary of Language and Culture Department, Mandali Buddha Prasad, Deputy speaker of AP Assembly, D Vijaya Bhaskar, Director of Culture Department, and Dr Ramakrishna Director of Archeology Department as members.
T Purnachander Rao, a shopkeeper in Vijayawada, said, “I think this is a foolish act. Imposing fines up Rs.50,000 is ridiculous. As Vijayawada is fast becoming a global city, many people from other States are coming here and how can they understand the Telugu sign boards?”
At the same time, many government officials are also not happy with the GO. A senior IAS officer said on condition of anonymity, “At the village level, almost all meetings are being conducted in Telugu, but at the department level, it is in English as many are not proficient in Telugu. Though many officers are good enough to speak Telugu, a good number can’t write in Telugu.”
Hefty Fines
Rs.10,000 fine: If any head of the govt dept or agency fails to prepare plaques in Telugu for foundation laying or inauguration ceremonies.
Rs.5,000 fine: If any head of the dept or agency fails to use Telugu as the communication medium.
Rs.5,000 fine: Any head of govt dept or agency who fails to conduct review meets in Telugu.
Rs.10,000 fine: Any public servant who doesn’t use Telugu for his/her interaction with the public.
Rs.50,000 fine: Any commercial establishment without signboard in Telugu
Rs.50,000 fine: Owner of the educational institution who fails to implement Telugu syllabus or Telugu as a medium of instruction as prescribed by the government.

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