Odisha, considered to be a poor state, witnessed gold trading to the tune of more than Rs 130 crore on a single day last Monday as people, particularly in the urban centres, rushed to jewellery shops to buy the yellow metal on the auspicious occasion of “Akshaya Tritiya.”
The age-old belief among people that buying the precious metal on the auspicious day would bring in prosperity and good fortune to the family triggered the mad rush to buy gold.
The gold buying spree, at a time when the Odisha government is asking the Centre for a special category status to free the state from hunger and backwardness, has surprised many analysts.
If sources in the state jewellers’ association are to be believed, the state capital Bhubaneswar, as expected, took the lead in the gold buying exercise. The hundred and odd jewellery shops in the city did a business upto Rs 40 to Rs 50 crore which was about 40 per cent higher compared to last year. The capital city was followed by Cuttack, the erstwhile capital of the state, which recorded Rs 25 crore of gold trading.
The other towns and cities where people rushed to buy gold coins and gold ornaments worth crores of rupees on Akshaya Tritiya day included Berhampur in south Odisha, Sambalpur and steel township of Rourkela in western Odisha, Balasore in north Odisha and industrial hub of Angul in coastal Angul district.
Analysts, however, strongly believe that one cannot erase the “poor state” tag from Odisha because of the gold rush as it is only an urban phenomenon.
A majority of the people living in rural pockets are still reeling under poverty. “No one should presume that the entire state has become prosperous”, said an analyst.
The auspicious day also witnessed another phenomenon—large-scale marriages across the state. Bhubaneswar and Cuttack alone saw more than 420 marriages on a single day.