Odia Mandatory: Odisha Official Language Bill passed in Assembly

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Assembly Tuesday passed the Odisha Official Language (Amendment) Bill, 2018, through a voice vote, which makes penal provisions for the government officials for not using Odia language in official work.

According to the bill, it contains punishment provision for non-compliance and rewards to the officials in order to encourage maximum use of Odia language.

This apart, the Assembly passed a bill making Odia language mandatory on signboards of all shops and commercial establishments.

The Odisha Shops and Commercial Establishments (Amendment) Bill, 2018 and its rule provides for all shops and establishments to meet the terms within a month or pay a fine ranging between Rs 1000 and Rs 5000 for a first violation and rising to between Rs 2000 and Rs 25000 for the second violation, sources said.

“We welcome the move and there is no reason to oppose. But what are the violations? I had even given an example that if our Chief Minister does not write in Odia in a file, will that be a violation?” questioned Leader of Opposition, Narasingha Mishra.

On the other hand, BJP MLA Pradip Purohit stated, “If an IAS officer, or an officer from any department does not use Odia language, what action will be taken against him/her and if there is no action, then the bill passed will have no value. So it is still doubtful, how this is going to be beneficial.”

In August 2016, the state government enacted the rules of the Odisha Official Language Act, 1954, formally bringing it into force for official work in Odia language.

BJD Spokesperson Amar Satapathy said, “Those violating rules will be punished. Though the state government had enacted the rules of the Odisha Official Language Act, 1954, a bill was passed to formally bring it into force.”

Meanwhile, Baishnab Parida, president of Odisha Bhasa Suraksha Sammilani, said, “The Sammilani had been demanding implementation of the Official Language Act. This is a success and a result of the state-wide protests being carried out since last six years.”