BHUBANESWAR: Reiterating the State Government’s demand for declaration of Paika uprising of 1817 in Odisha as the First War of Independence, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday requested the Centre to issue a commemorative postage stamp on the occasion of bi-centenary of the rebellion.
Addressing a function organised at New Delhi by Union Ministry of Culture to mark the occasion, Naveen said he had also earlier requested the Centre to introduce a new AC train from Khurda Road to Mumbai via Sambalpur on Humsafar lines and name it after the chief commander of Paika uprising, Buxi Jagabandhu. “I hope the Central Government would consider this demand in honour of the great hero of monumental event at the earliest,” he said.
The function, which marked the beginning of the year-long celebrations of the bi-centenary of the rebellion, was inaugurated by President Pranab Mukherjee.
The Chief Minister said the Paika rebellion, known as Paika Bidroha, was truly a broad based, well organised pluralistic struggle against the oppressive rule of East India Company which transcended the boundaries of caste, creed and class. He said declaring Paika uprising as the First War of Independence would be a befitting tribute to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the rebellion.
Stating that Odisha Government has taken a number of steps to highlight this event during the bi-centenary year, the Chief Minister said the Government has started the programme BASUDHA to provide drinking water to urban and rural areas at an investment of `1000 crore during the year in memory of Buxi Jagabandhu.
There is also a proposal to organise a national seminar in New Delhi on Paika uprising to highlight its historical significance, he said and added the State Government has decided to erect the Paika Amar Jyoti Stambha as a mark of respect to the sacrifices made by the valiant Paikas.
Also addressing the function, Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan requested the Chief Minister to provide land near Barunei hill in Khurda district for setting up a memorial for the Paika uprising.
The Union Minister said a statue of Buxi Jagabandhu, like the statues of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Shivaji, should be erected on Barunei hill to inspire the people of Odisha for years to come. Stating that Sipahi Bidroha was the first organised rebellion against the British, Pradhan said it was widespread and people belonging all sections, Paikas, zamindars, ordinary farmers and tribals participated in it.
Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Jual Oram and Union Minister of State for Tourism Mahesh Sharma also addressed.