Mumbai: Seven philatelists from Odisha have featured prominently in the Achievement Awards 2021 announced by the Philatelic Congress of India (PCI), the national nodal federation of Indian philatelic societies.
While Sahadev Sahoo was conferred the Philatelic Ratna Award, Anil Dhir was invited as a Fellow of the Philatelic Congress of India, the first fellowship to be conferred to any philatelist from Odisha.
Certificates of Appreciation for excellence in promoting the hobby were conferred to Shanti Swarup Rath, Shakil Ahmed, Ajit Kumar Dash, Ajit Kumar Raut, Nanda Kishore Agrawal, Jeevan Jyoti and Naresh Agrawal.
Two philatelic bodies of the state — Eastern India Philatelists’ Association (EIPA) and Orissa Philatelic Association — too were accorded PCI Certificates of Appreciation–Societies.
According to Anil Dhir, a prominent philatelist and postal historian, Odisha is now the philatelic capital of India. “It is not a surprise that the maximum awards were given to philatelists of Odisha as we have some of the most prominent stamp collectors.”\
Ajit Kumar Dash, one of EIPA’s founder members and a member of the Governing Council of PCI, said such awards will bolster the efforts of philatelists and popularize the hobby.
Kashinath Sahoo, a youth philatelist, pointed out that Odisha has some unique aspects in postal history. These include the only pigeon post in the world, the oldest letter box of the country and some of the most unique heritage post office buildings.
The erstwhile feudatory of Bamra was one of the few to have issued postage stamps during British rule.