Large sections of populace in Kandhamal district were astonished by the sudden change of name of Phulbani town, which is the district headquarters town to ‘Boudh-Kandhamal'.
It may be noted that the Central government has recently approved change of names of 25 towns in the country. They include two towns of Odisha. Apart from Phulbani, name of Sonepur town in western Odisha is to be changed to Subarnapur. Although it is claimed that name of Phulbani was changed to ‘Boudh-Kandhamal' according to public demand, residents of Kandhamal district say they are ignorant about this demand and do not know who made this demand. When contacted, Kandhamal district Collector Rajesh Prabhakar Patil also confirmed this Central notification regarding change of name of Phulbani town.
Sasank Sahu, convener of Phulbani Action Group (PAG), a cluster of 38 social organisation of the district said this sudden change of name has come as a shock for him as well as people of the district. “We do not know on what basis this change of name has been made,” he said. According to him the name of Phulbani town is more than a century old. It is related to several folklores.
A senior researcher on culture and tradition of Kandhamal district, Raghunath Padhi of Baliguda is also finding it hard to accept this change of name of Phulbani town. According to him Phulbani town was established in 1904 by the sub-divisional officer of British government AJO Alen Bach. Mr. Padhi said two folk tales are related to naming of this town but there is no historical evidence regarding their authenticity. According to one folktale the British officer Bach had intimate relationship with a local tribal girl named ‘Phula' and the new town was named according to her name.
Source: The Hindu