President arrives in Odisha on a 3-day visit

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Bhubaneswar, Mar 20 (PTI) President Ram Nath Kovind along with the First Lady Savita Kovind Saturday arrived in Odisha on a three-day visit to the state.

Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Pratap Sarangi Chief Secretary SC Mohapatra and DGP Abhya welcomed the President at the airport.

The President went to Raj Bhavan where he would stay overnight. On March 21, he is scheduled to attend the 18th annual convocation of NIT Rourkela and inaugurate a Super Specialty Hospital in Rourkela as well.

On March 22, the President will visit the Shree Jagannatha Temple in Puri and visit the India Oil Foundation Trust Interpretation Centre at Konark, before returning to New Delhi on March 22 evening.

Apart from tight security arrangements, the state government also maintained COVID-19 protocol and people coming in close proximity to the President have to undergo RT-PCR tests.

Meanwhile, Odisha's ruling BJD headed by Naveen Patnaik, has decided to submit a memorandum to the visiting President seeking inclusion of two tribal languages in the eighth schedule of the Constitution.

Senior BJD MLAs SR Patnaik and Basanti Hembram and BJD's general secretary Shreemayee Mishra at a press meet said that the party has decided to draw the attention of the President for the inclusion of Ho and Mundari, the two languages widely used by people belonging to the scheduled tribe group, in the eighth schedule of the Constitution.

Patnaik said though different political parties during elections promise to fight for inclusion of the two tribal languages in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution, all forget it after polls. However, the BJD government has completed the constitutional process and a delegation will meet the President in this regard.

BJD's Karanjia MLA Basanti Hembram said that more than 30 lakh people in the country and 10 lakh tribals in Odisha use Ho language. Similarly, more than six lakh people belonging to Munda and Mundari tribes speak Mundari as their dialect.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has written two letters to the Centre demanding inclusion of the two tribal languages in the eighth schedule of the Constitution, they said.

The BJD general secretary said Koshali is a 'sweet' dialect. Around 75 lakh people speak Koshali. PTI AAM RG RG