Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 24:
The Odisha government today decided to observe March 11as Odia Bhasha Divas across the state, Culture minister Ashok Panda announced here today.
The Culture department and the Odisha Sahitya Akadmi will organise a host of programmes to mark the occasion, which will be observed statewide, Panda told media persons after a meeting on the issue here today.
Essay and debate competitions would be held at the school and college levels and cultural programmes organised across the state to focus attention on the classical status of Odia language.
The district level competitions would be over by March 5 while the state level competition would be held at the Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalay here on March 8. The winners of the comeptition would be awarded at the state level function here on March 11, Panda said.
In another important decision taken at the meeting, the government also set in motion the process to accord state anthem status to ‘Bande Utkala Janani’ announcing the formation of a committee headed by the Law secretary for the purpose.
The secretaries of the Information and Public Relations and Culture departments and special secretary of Home would be the other members of the committee, the Culture minister said.
“’Bande Utkala Janani’, in its approved standardized form, has already been accepted by the general public of the state as the state anthem. People are standing up in their seats as a mark of respect when it is played. The then Speaker had given a ruling in this regard. What the committee will do is to give it a formal shape,” Panda said.
The committee will go into various aspects of according state anthem status to the song and submit a report to the state government on how to go about it, he added.
Bande Utkala Janani is an Odia patriotic poem written by Kantakabi Laxmikanta Mohapatra when present day Odisha was carved into an independent state on April 1, 1936.