Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

With Andhra Pradesh government making inroads into Odisha’s territory in 21 villages of Kotia Gram Panchayat in Koraput’s Pottangi block, Odia language is suffering a kind of slow death, observed an organisation working for the upliftment of Odia language, literature and culture.

A delegation of the organisation named ‘Nilachakra’ came to this conclusion after their recent visit to the area under the stewardship of Secretary, Kanhu Charan Panigrahi.

“During our two-day visit to the area we interacted with the people of the area and found that due to the aggressive strategy of the neighbouring state to occupy the area, Odia language is in the verge of extinction in those border villages,” said Panigrahi.

“They are forcibly establishing anganwadis, schools, replacing Odia signboards with Telugu, constructing pucca roads over roads built by the Odisha Government,” he said.

Moreover, the schools established by Odisha governments are not managed properly with poor infrastructure and less number of teachers. Hence, students are not coming to these Odia medium schools. Telugu signboards have outnumbered signboards in the area as well. 

As per the delegation, Andhra administration seems to be more active in the area than the Koraput district administration and hence the impact of the neighbouring state’s language and culture is more on the local people.

“While the Odisha government has been providing solar power in the area, Andhra government is supplying them with electricity. Our State government is providing them a meager amount of Rs 500 towards old age allowances. However, Andhra government is providing Rs 2,500 for the same purpose. They are providing monetary assistance of Rs 15,000 to each family in a bid to encourage them to send their children to Telugu schools. But Odia schools are lying in a sorry state due to the lackadaisical attitude of the State government,” said Panigrahi.

Following their visit and survey, the delegation has given a memorandum to the State government to take more proactive majors for the sustenance of Odia language and culture in the border areas.

“Officials of the district administration should visit the areas frequently and make people aware about the rich Odia language, culture and the geographical border of the State,” the memorandum read.