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Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: Taking mind off of the growing concern over novel-Coronavirus, people of the State on Wednesday remembered the champions of the Odisha statehood movement on the 85th anniversary of Utkal Diwas.

People commemorated the sacrifices made by leaders for the formation of Odisha as a separate State on this day in 1936 when it was carved out of the combined Bengal-Bihar-Orissa province.

Taking to Twitter, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Governor Ganeshi Lal extended greetings to the people of the State on the occasion which marks the formation of Odisha on a linguistic basis.

“I convey my greetings to the people of Odisha on the occasion of Utkal Diwas. I pay tribute to the legends who played a pivotal role in the formation of Odisha State,” the CM said in a video message.

“Odisha created a special identity for itself in various development prospects. The State is also leading in the field of disaster management. I believe, we will certainly emerge victorious in our fight against Coronavirus,” the CM added.

Also Read: ‘Odisha To Set Up COVID-19 Hospitals In All Districts’

Stating that Odias are known for bravery, he stressed that in times of COVID-19 we need to show our unity and integrity. He also urged people to protect oneself and one's family by following the guidelines implemented by the State as well as Centre to contain spread of Coronavirus.

Similarly, Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal extended greetings on the occasion and called upon people to take a pledge to join the fight against coronavirus and make State proud.

President Ram Nath Kovind also greeted the people and wished for peace, prosperity and development of Odisha.

Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu also took to Twitter to convey good wishes to the people of Odisha on the occasion of Utkal Diwas.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi too wished the people of Odisha on the occasion. "Utkala Dibasa greetings to my sisters & brothers of Odisha. Praying for Odisha's constant progress & prosperity in the times to come," he tweeted.

The national vice-president and spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Jay Panda also wished everyone on the occasion.

Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan also wished the people of Odisha on the occasion and paid tributes to the late leaders who had fought for the state's identity.

Unlike previous years when a number of functions and programmes were organised to commemorate the day, this year no celebrations are being held in view of Coronavirus crisis and lockdown across the country.

Read More: ‘Over 1500 Coronavirus Lockdown, 61 Quarantine Violation Cases Registered In Odisha’

Meanwhile, litterateurs opined that Odisha which successfully came out of 'Na-anka Durbhikhya' or the world's worst famine of 1866 can tackle the Coronavirus pandemic.

"Odia language and literature are now under house arrest due to the threat posed by coronavirus. Neither newspapers, not literature books and magazines are being published now. We are fighting with an invisible enemy. Even the State government does not know how far the uncertainty will continue,” said writer Bibhuti Pattanaik.

“This is the first time we are observing the Utkal Diwas under the shadow of a health crisis. It reminds us that the Odia community which had successfully overcame many such calamities can fight Coronavirus with a similar spirit,” said noted litterateur Haraprasad Das.



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