Odisha's Culture Minister pushes for enhanced sports infrastructure

Culture Minister Suryabanshi Suraj also announced plans to resume the Odisha Sahitya Akademi Awards and improve benefits for local artists.
Minister Suraj at Kalinga Stadium
Minister Suraj at Kalinga Stadium

BHUBANESWAR: Culture Minister Suryabanshi Suraj on Monday directed the department officials to work towards establishing a language commission and speed up the process of setting up Odia signboards in both government and commercial establishments.

At his first review meeting of the department’s activities, Suraj also called for the formulation of special guidelines for the state’s culture and heritage policy, resume conferment of Odisha Sahitya Akademi Awards and formation of executive committees of various academies functioning under the department. The Odisha Sahitya Akademi awards were last announced in 2015 (Nityananda Panda) and 2016 (Laxmipriya Acharya).

Similarly, the minister advised officials to provide timely benefits to beneficiaries of the Artiste Assistance Scheme and all the Padma awardees of the state who are currently alive. He also asked the officials to take steps to construct an Asmita Bhawan. He emphasised preparing the work schedule for the next 100 days for various programmes of the department.

Suraj, who is also the Sports and Youth Services Minister, also visited Kalinga Stadium here to review the infrastructure on the day. He visited the Sports Science Centre, Khelo India State Centre of Excellence, Tennis Centre, Indoor Athletic Centre, Sports Climbing, Shooting, Aquatic, Gymnastic, Hockey HPC and the sports hostels.

The minister said the government’s focus would be on developing sports infrastructure in Odisha. “We have to create robust sporting infrastructure in rural parts of the state. Our emphasis would be on programmes and projects to make the state a sports power,” he said.

He further said the state has made its mark at the national level and emerged as the sports capital of India. “Our efforts will be to make Odisha the sports capital of the world by the time we celebrate the 100th year of its formation in 2036.”

Suraj informed that the government is going to organise various programmes at different heritage places of the state to mark International Yoga Day on June 21.

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The New Indian Express