Decks cleared for use of Odia language in all govt work

Bhubaneswar: The obstacles on the way of the implementation of Odia language in all official business were removed today after the State government moved an ordinance in this regard.

“As per the old Act, the government had no power to formulate rules. But, the Ordinance, which came today, will empower the government to frame rules. The ordinance has come as per the recommendation of ministerial level committee. The government is now fully committed to implementing the Language Act,” Law minister Arun Sahu said.

‘Odia Bhasha Pratisthan’, an entity entrusted with the task of developing the Odia language by the state government, has been asked to come up with a new edition of Odia administrative glossary, sources in the Culture department said.

Under pressure from different socio-cultural outfits, which have been agitating for due respect to the ancient classical language, the Council of Ministers decided to implement the Language Act 1954 by August 15 at a cabinet meeting on May 21 coinciding with the completion of the Naveen Patnaik government’s fourth term.

However, activists fighting for the cause of Odia as the official language had raised questions over the amendment of the old law as the Assembly session is over. They had decided to continue agitation. But, after the ordinance today, the strike has been put on hold for sometime.

“As the government has moved a step forward by moving the ordinance, we will allow it a break. We will wait till August 15 as per the assurance of the government. But the agitation has not been withdrawn, only postponed for some days,” said Subas Patnaik, President of Bhasha Andolan, one of the organisations spearheading the movement for use of Odia in all official communication.

The state government’s decision has come in the wake of a number of outfits including ‘Bhasa Surakhya Sammilani’ led by BJD Rajya Sabha MP Baishnab Parida, criticizing the state government for neglecting the Odia language.

“Bhasa Surakhya Sammilani’ has already created state a wide movement for love for the language. It would always cooperate with the government in the successful implementation of the Odia language in official transaction and ensure that the language is given priority in all spheres,” Baishnab Parida, chief of Bhasa Surakhya Sammilani, said.

The state government had on May 21 announced to amend the Odisha Official Languages Act, 1954 for use of Odia language as medium of communication in official matters.

Talking to media persons after the meeting of the council of ministers, Chief minister Naveen Patnaik had said Odisha Official Language Rules are in an advanced stage of formulation for use of Odia in official business.

“Our Odia is one of the finest classical languages of India. Its roots are ancient and the language continues to be vibrant to suit the requirement of modern times,” Naveen had said.