Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has welcomed the central Sahitya Akademi nod for classical language status for Odia and hoped that the Centre would take steps to fulfil the long-standing demand of the people of the state.
An expert languages committee of the Akademi has recommended classical status for Odia.
"It was a long standing demand of the people of Odisha. I hope the Central Cabinet will accept the recommendation," he said.
"The language committee after going through our report stated that the claim made (on behalf) of Odia was the best ever documentation they had come across.
"It also lauded all the parameters the language meets... and confirmed the recommendation to the Union Culture Ministry," said eminent linguist Debi Prasanna Pattnayak.
Pattnayak and others today presented Odisha's case before the language expert committee in Delhi.
"The final nod will, however, come from the Union Cabinet after it verifies the claims," said Bijay Nayak, Secretary of the Odisha Sahitya Akademi.
If accorded the classical tag, Odia will become the sixth language to feature on the elite list which already features Sanskrit and four Dravidian languages: Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam.
Tamil was the first language to be accorded classical tag, while Malayalam received the honour earlier this year.