In what appears to have become a ritual a day before the convocation at Utkal University, the practice session of the 45th convocation resulted in chaos for both the varsity officials and several gold medalists, who waited for hours for their passes.
The convocation practice on Wednesday ended up in pandemonium at the venue of the convocation, adjoining the MKCG auditorium, where President Pranab Mukherjee will award the honorary degrees on Thursday.
As per the practice, the venue should have been handed over to the police a day before the event for security reasons. That was, however, not possible till late in the evening on Wednesday. While the rehearsal for convocation was on, workers of the event management company, which was roped in by the university to make all arrangements, were found struggling for arranging the furniture, fixing up air-conditioners at the venue and finishing decoration work.
Such was the chaos that even a gas chamber of one of air-conditioners at the venue burst while works were on. While the event management company officials said they had to re-arrange the chairs as per the security protocol, students complained that there weren’t enough seats at the venue for accommodating 3,000 students of university besides dignitaries and other guests. The university officials later decided to put up a projector at the MKCG auditorium with seating arrangement for 500 persons.
An additional 1,500 chairs were also added to the venue. At the university’s main office, of the 97 gold medalists, many could be seen running around to get a pass to enter the convocation venue.
“Not many of us are aware of the formalities that are needed to receive a pass. Besides, the university authorities informed us about the gold medals at the last minute,” lamented a gold medalist of the Commerce department. She alleged that most of the students like her had to run between their departments and exam section of the university throughout the day to get their papers cleared for the pass.
A senior administrative functionary of the university admitted that confusion about passes for the gold medal winning students prevailed due to lack of coordination among the department heads and clerical staff of the exam section, who were issuing the passes.
Apart from the 97 gold medals, the university will give away honorary degrees to neurologist Sanatan Rath, retired Justice R K Patra and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Ph.D. degrees to 227 scholars.
As far as the security provisions around the university campus are concerned, Police Commissioner Sunil Kumar Roy said 40 to 45 platoons of force in addition to 350 police officials, who have been mobilised from different departments, would be deployed. On the delay in handing over the venue to police, Roy said, “These type of programmes need good coordination and perhaps that was a problem here.”
* The convocation practice on Wednesday ended up in pandemonium at the venue of the convocation, adjoining the MKCG auditorium, where President Pranab Mukherjee will award the honorary degrees on Thursday.
* As per the practice, the venue should have been handed over to the police a day before the event for security reasons.
* That was, however, not possible till late in the evening on Wednesday.