BHUBANESWAR: The State Government has decided to observe March 11 as Shastriya Odia Bhasa Divas.
Announcing the decision here, Minister of State for Tourism and Culture Ashok Panda said on March 11 last year, Centre had issued a gazette declaring Odia as a classical language. The decision was taken at the meeting of 19-member committee of experts, linguists and scholars constituted by the State Government.
The committee decided that steps will be taken to expedite opening of Central Institute of Classical Odia in the Capital City. In a letter to Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani on December 17, last year, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had requested establishment of the institute as a centre of excellence to promote further research and development of Odia language.
Panda said a decision was taken to open a cell in the Odisha Sahitya Akademi to pursue the matter further. Besides, a four-member sub-committee of the 19-member committee will visit Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka to study the functioning of such institutes in those States.
Odia became the sixth language of the country to get classical language status after the Union Cabinet conceded a long-pending demand for putting it in the same league as Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.
Once a language is declared classical, it gets financial assistance for setting up a centre of excellence for the study of that language and also opens up an avenue for two major awards for scholars of eminence. Besides, the UGC can be requested to create, to begin with at least in Central Universities, a certain number of professional chairs for classical languages for scholars of eminence in the language.