Pradeep Pattanayak

The demand for two to three days local holiday on the occasion of Nuakhai festival is getting louder in the Western Odisha by the day. 

From Bargarh to Bolangir, from Sambalpur to Sonepur, everywhere resentment is brewing among the people over the duration of Nuakhai holiday. It has been demanded that the one-day holiday for Nuakhai, the mass festival of Western Odisha, be increased to two or three days. 

The service holders and businessmen staying outside always make it a point to celebrate the festival with their family members. So they return to their houses and take part in the merrymaking.

As in the Odisha government holiday list, only the day of the festival is mentioned as the holiday, people face problems in joining in their respective duties the very next day. So they have been demanding that the period of the holiday should be extended, at least to two or three days so that people can enjoy the festival. 

In Bargarh district, activists of Koshal Sena on Saturday gheraoed the Collector’s office and handed over a memorandum. Two days ago, the activists of the outfit had met the Collector of Sonepur district and submitted a memorandum. The people of the Western Odisha are demanding the duration of the holiday be extended to three days. 
“It is a unique festival. The family members celebrate this festival at one place. Because the holiday is for one day only, it will be very difficult for outstation people to join in their respective jobs the next day,” said a Bolangir resident. 

Seeking a solution to this growing discontent, LoP Jayanarayan Mishra has shot off a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, urging him to declare a two-day-long state-level holiday for the mass festival. 

“During the tenure of former chief minister late Biju Patnaik, the duration of the holiday used to be for two days. But the present government hasn’t considered it, giving rise to strong reactions from across Western Odisha. Without further delay, the government should announce two days holiday,” said Mishra. 

Putting forth his views, senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra said the demand for a two-day holiday is genuine. “I hope the Chief Minister would consider it,” said Mishra. 

Going one step further, BJD leader Kalikesh Singhdeo has demanded that the period of the holiday should be three days, instead of two days. 

Demanding three days holiday for offices, banks and educational institutions, he has also written a letter to the Chief Minister. 

Notably, for Bolangir district, the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) of the northern division has announced two days local holiday for the festival-the festival day and the next day.   

This year, the festival falls on September 1.