Orissa becomes Odisha, Oriya becomes Odia

Bhubaneswar: The name of Orissa was officially changed to Odisha and its language from Oriya to Odia following presidential assent on Friday to the bill passed by Parliament and issuance of a notification.

In the first official letter using Odisha in the letterhead, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik thanked President Pratibha Patil for her "historic decision". "I convey to you the deep sense of gratitude of our people for the state to be known now as Odisha," Patnaik wrote.

There were celebrations with fire crackers burst tonight following the notification. At the secretariat the chief minister, ministers and officials watched a sparkling display of fireworks. The chief minister declared a holiday on Saturday. All government offices, schools and colleges will remain closed.

Sweets were distributed among those present at the celebrations, organised at short notice following instruction from Patnaik. Earlier an unanimous resolution was passed in the state assembly for change in the name of the state from Orissa to Odisha in 2008 which received the nod of both the houses of the Parliament in 2010.

The President`s assent and notification was issued on Friday. The state which was formed on linguistic basis on April 1, 1936, was known as Orissa and its language was Oriya since then.