Shiv Sena-BJP controlled Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to give double increments to Marathi post graduates among the 1.2 lakh civic staff, sparking protests from the Opposition.

“The BMC is likely to issue a circular to the effect today,” Rahul Shewale, Chairman of BMC’s standing committee which passed the proposal, told PTI.

Asked to disclose the number of BMC staff who will benefit from the decision, Mr. Shewale said, “We are collecting the data.”

Opposing the move to consider only Marathi post graduates, Rajhans Singh, Leader of Opposition in the civic body, said the incentive should be extended to post-graduates in Hindi as well to ensure there is no discrimination.

“If the BMC doesn’t do that, we may challenge the decision in court,” he added.

However, Mr. Shewale said Mr. Singh had not suggested any such thing during the panel meeting.

“He kept quiet,” Mr. Shewale added.

Defending the controversial proposal, Mr. Shewale said no political reasons should be read into the decision. “This is just to encourage effective civic administration with good linguistic skills,” he added.

“This will stop syntax mistakes in letters written in Marathi to other State government bodies,” he added.

A civic official said under the BMC Act, the Corporation had the right to take steps to promote its local language.

“If the local corporation does not push its local language, then who will?,” he asked.

The plan was mooted by MNS corporator Mangesh Sangale in April and cleared all hurdles fairly speedily because no political party - Sena, the BJP or the Congress - wanted to be seen as anti-Marathi.