ONI Bureau: In a bid to counter the language movements in the state as well as to woo the culture and heritage lovers in Odisha, the State Cabinet approved a number of proposals to develop Odia language. Naveen Patnaik also accepted the demands of Bhasa Andolan and other groups by deciding to amend The Orissa Official Language Act, 1954 with penal provisions. It will be implemented from 1st April, 2018.
At the Cabinet meeting in Puri, which coincided with BJD’s 20th Anniversary celebrations, the government has decided to constitute Odia Bhasha Commission to promote the language. In addition, World Odia Bhasha Conference will be held in every 5 years.
There will be a new Heritage cabinet portfolio such as ‘Odia Bhasha, Sahitya & Sanskruti’ department to promote Odia Language and Culture. It won’t be associated with Tourism Department.
All government events and functions in the state will be hosted in Odia language. All shops and commercial establishments will have Odia signage. Those who violate the directives, will be punished under law.
Libraries will be set up at all high schools by adding more books in Odia. Bhagabat Tungi will be revived and grants will be doubled for that purpose. Scholarship will be given to meritorious students who score good marks in Colleges and Universities. Research in Odia language will be encouraged.