Odia as official language from tomorrow; linguists doubtful on efficacy of Act

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Bhubaneswar: The Odia language will be used as an official language from tomorrow, said Chief Secretary AP Padhi here today.

Talking to media persons at the Independence Day function here, Padhi said, “Rules of the Odisha Official Language Act, 2016, have been approved and will be implemented from tomorrow in the State. We will try to find out how the Odia language can be implemented as an official language.”

A committee under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary has been formed to review the implementation of the Odia language for official purposes in every six months. Besides, a special division under the General Administration department will ensure use of the language in all the departments of the State government.

Meanwhile, linguists in the State questioned the efficacy of the Act as unlike Hindi and other regional languages no directorate, commission or body has been formed to monitor actual implementation of the rules.

Debi Prasanna Patnaik, a noted linguist, said, “A regulatory aayog with quasi judicial power should be formed so that it could have pressurised the government to implement the Act where it is not implemented. No discussion has been made yet in this regard.”

Expressing similar views Baishnaba Parida, convener of the Odia Bhasa Surakshya Sameelani said the Chief Minister has done the work haphazard and implemented the Act out of compulsion.

Parida said, “The charge for monitoring of the Act’s implementation is given to the bureaucrats. Apart from this neither a language commission has been formed nor penalty provision is made in the Act in case the implementation is not made properly. Therefore, the Act cannot come into force fully in actual manner.”

Notably, the State Cabinet on last Friday approved the rules of the Odisha Offical Language Act, 2016. Earlier, an ordinance for the implementation of the Act was approved in the Cabinet meeting held in the first week of August.

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