Union Culture Minister Chandresh Kumari Katoch on Sunday said her ministry would take up the demand of the people of Odisha for free entry into the Sun Temple at Konark once a week with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

In response to a proposal given by the Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Srikant Jena for free entry of tourists to the temple on Saturday, Mrs. Katoch said that she would certainly recommend for the purpose.

“In fact it’s not Saturday but Sunday that is dedicated to the Sun God. We will certainly look into it and people of Odisha will be benefitted,” she said.

On declaring Odia as a classical language, Mrs. Katoch said the Ministry of Culture had recommended the matter to the Union cabinet for approval.

“It will be soon declared as classical language like Malayalam,” she said amid loud applause by the gathering.

The language expert committee of the Kendra Sahitya Akademi recently recommended classical status for the language after thorough examination of documents and materials presented in support of the long standing demand.

If accorded the classical tag, Odia will be the sixth language to feature in the elite list which already consists of Sanskrit and four Dravidian languages — Tamil, Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam.

Tamil was the first language to be accorded the tag, while Malayalam received the honour earlier this year.