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Rush for gold leads to waste

- Utkal regrets ordering medals before rates fell

Bhubaneswar, April 22: Authorities of Utkal University are regretting having placed orders for gold medals for the upcoming 50th convocation on April 25 without waiting for prices to drop further. They would have saved a little had they waited.

Orders for 97 gold medals were given to a Mumbai-based company on March 25 when the gold rate for 10 grams was Rs 29,600. The prices started plummeting in the following weeks and today the price stands as Rs 25,000. The gold medals although not made of pure gold, are usually plated with the yellow metal.

“If we had placed the orders a week later, we would have saved around Rs 2 .5 lakh. We wish the gold rates had dipped a little earlier. We were one of the unlucky ones who could not use the slump to our advantage,” a senior official of the department said.

“While the amount of Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh would appear meagre to many, it is considerable for a cash-starved university like ours,” said a top official. “In any case, the medals have already been delivered and we can do little about it,” he added.

The authorities had asked the company if it would compensate them since the prices had dropped, but the request was turned down.

The authorities also rued that they had to make “unnecessary payment” to a private party for an auditorium, as they did not have such facility of their own.

“We have been demanding an auditorium since long, but the state government did not pay heed. Now, we have to pay Rs 35 lakh to a private party. Managing such a huge amount is very difficult and we can do it because the private partner has agreed to take the payment in parts,” said the official. The varsity has allocated a total of Rs 54.48 lakh for the event.

The idea of introducing Sambalpuri uttariyas (type of shawl) instead of the robes has also apparently backfired and the authorities are struggling to put things in order. With the state-run Boyonika not being able to supply the required number of uttarias within the stipulated time, the authorities now find themselves in an awkward situation.

“We had not expected such irresponsibility from these people. They do not have the sufficient number of uttariayas in a single design. We cannot give different styled uttariyas to each one and invite trouble,” said the vice-chancellor P.K. Sahoo.

The Boyonika staff said that they were given the orders very late. “Textiles take time. The orders should have been given much in advance,” said an official from Boyonika.

The vice-chancellor today met the chancellor, governor S.C. Jamir, to finalise the names for the honorary degrees. The names of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Justice R.K. Patra, former chairperson of State Human Rights Commission, and Sanatan Rath, neurologist, have been cleared for the honour.