The Odisha Government has decided to establish Odia Open University to promote Oriya language and its literature.
Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik directed officials to use Odia on nameplates, advertisements and official invitations. Trade and business establishments will also be asked to display their names in Odia.
It was decided that the Orissa Official Language Act, 1954 will be implemented at all levels in Government as well as non-Government sectors. A new official website www.odia.odisha.gov.in has been launched to spread the use of Odia in every sphere.
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School and Mass Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra said Odia chairs will be opened in top educational institutions including Delhi University and Banaras Hindu University (BHU). The Minister said all Government advertisements, celebrations, seminars, workshops, training programmes, inauguration plaques and invitation cards will be in Odia.
Besides, Odia chairs will also be opened in all universities in Odisha to popularise the language further. All vacant posts of Odia language in schools and colleges will be filled up as early as possible and new posts created, he said.
The state will observe “Odia Bhasa Week” in April each year. During this week, state-level debate competitions would be organised to promote the language. Successful students will be felicitated during the Odia language week celebrations, he said.
Scholarships will be instituted in schools, colleges and universities to promote research in Odia language and literature. Besides, steps will also be taken to simplify Odia words further for their use in Government departments and other spheres.
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The government, as a learning exercise, will try to keep abreast of the steps taken by other states to promote their official languages.
Sources said the government directive was prompted by BJD Rajya Sabha member Baishnab Charan Parida’s threat to launch an indefinite dharana if the government failed to implement the use of Odia in official work.
Parida is head of Bhasha Surkasha Sammilani, an organisation working for the promotion of Odia language in the state.