Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 11:
While Odisha is observing the first ‘Shastriya Odia Bhasa Divas’ today, the state-owned “Odia Bhasa Pratisthan” (Odia Language Institute) set up for conservation and promotion of the Odia language seems to be rapidly losing its glory owing to government apathy and negligence.
The premier language institute, founded in April, 2006 for the propagation of Odia language, has published a meagre eight books in the last nine years. More often than not, it has been in the news for the wrong reasons, the last occasion being the controversial Odia Barnabodha–Odia primer- published by it last year.
The Iinstitute’s Executive Committee and General Council oversee the functioning and recruitments in the organisation.
Notably, the chief minister is the ex-officio President and school and mass education minister is the ex-officio vice-president of the General Council. The school and mass education minister is the chairman and the chief secretary is the acting chairman of the Executive Committee.
Even though it has high profile dignitaries on board, the General Council hasn’t met even once in the last eight years and Executive Committee hasn’t been convened in the last two years.
As per the norms, the General Council should meet biannually and the Executive Committee once every four months.
‘‘The Odisha Bhasa Pratishthan is presently under the school and mass education department. Soon, it’s going to be under the control of the culture department. As the decisions regarding functioning of the institute will be taken by the latter, we haven’t prepared any roadmap for promotion and propagation of Odia language,’’ a senior official of the Institute said on conditions of anonymity.
The appointment of contractual appointees, retired officials and the non-recruitment of permanent staff in the institute has plagued the organisation.
As the school and mass education department has not been relieving its officials on deputation to the institute, retired officials have been recruited in key positions. This depicts the apathetic attitude of the government towards the Institute, the official alleged.
In addition to this, the post of the director has been lying vacant since last six months. Senior bureaucrat Hadibandhu Singh Sardar has been given additional responsibility to manage the affairs.
As per information posted on its official website (http://odiabhashapratisthan.org/english/), the posts of Programme Coordinator, Administrative Officer, Assistant Programme Co-ordinator, Senior Assistants, and Typist are yet to be filled.
‘‘Sardar visits the officeno more than twice or thrice in a month and nobody has the record of the attendance of other staff,’’ a source alleged.