POST TIME: 19 June, 2018 00:00 00 AM
Majority of residential students deprived facilities at RU
Jahidul islam, RU

Majority of residential students 
deprived  facilities at RU

Almost 76 per cent of students of Rajshahi University (RU) remain outside the orbit of residential facilities even after 65 years after its establishment. The varsity was founded in 1953 with the aim to provide such facilities to all its students. But the ever growing number of the students has rendered it quite impossible.

Besides, no initiative has been taken to build new residential accommodations despite a growing demand. RU authorities say the completion of work of two dormitories—Sheikh Hasina Hall and Shaheed Kamruzzaman Hall—will resolve about half of the accommodation problem. But they could not   anything about the current status of the project. The accomoadation problem is currently discouraging students of different categories from seeking enrolment here. Sources say there are 37,248 regular students under nine faculties in 53 departments and 11 institutions, 43 PhD holders, 106 MPhil fellows and 149 researchers on the campus.

RU has 18 residential halls—11 dormitories for male students, six for female students, and one for international students and research scholars.

However, the respective capacities of these halls are limited.

Among the 5,190 seats in the 11 male halls, there are 312 seats in Shar-e-Bangla Hall, 434 in Shah Mukhdum Hall, 319 in Nabab Abdul Latif Hall, 410 in Sayeed Amir Ali Hall, 431 in Shaheed Samsuzzoha Hall, 728 in Shaheed Habibur Rahman Hall, 288 in Motihar Hall, 584 in Mader Bux Hall, 592 in Shaheed Sourawardi Hall, 598 in Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Hall and 494 seats in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Hall. Of the 3,609 seats in the six female halls, 860 seats are in Monnojan Hall, 720 in Begum Rokeya Hall, 469 in Begum Khaleda Zia Hall, 580 in Rahmatunnessa Hall and 528 seats in Bangamata Sheikh Fazilatunnesa Hall.

Students staying in the 'gono room' have to bear unbearable conditions in summer. Intense heat and absence of ceiling fans force them to spend their nights on dormitory balconies, in canteens or inside mosques. They have to put up with an acute accommodation crisis, security issues, menace of mosquitoes, unhygienic food, and unhealthy living conditions.

Besides, the Bangladesh Chatra League (BCL), the students’ wing of the ruling Awami League, keep 80–100 seats blocked in their name in each dormitory. Sources say the accommodation crisis has deepened as several students refuse to vacate the rooms in spite of having completed study one or two years ago. The authorities have built the Shaheed Mir Abdul Kayyum International Dormitory for researchers and international students, but the number seats there is only 26.  Sources say only 8,825 students (24 per cent), out of the 37,248 students enrolled at the university, get residential facilities on the campus.

The situation has raised questions about this facility for students, who allege that the halls have not been renovated for long, complaints about poor food quality in dining rooms or canteens, unreliable wifi connection, and substandard technical facilities in the halls. Nahidul Islam, a fourth-year student of philosophy, said, "I applied three times during the allotment circulation in Shar-e-Bangla Fazlul Hoque hall, but the university authorities have not been able to allot a seat in the hall.”

Many students have already completed their studies at the university without getting any residential accommodation in the halls.  On April 15, students of the Nabab Abdul Latif Hall held an angry demonstration, seeking the fulfilment of their 12-point demands, including the renovation of the building. The demonstrators  blocked the gate and vandalised the hall dining room.

Earlier, students of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Hall had also held a demonstration with their 22-point demands.  zUniversity pro vice-chancellor Prof. Dr Ananda Kumar Shaha said: "To resolve the residential problems, we plan to start the construction work of the 10-floor Sheikh Hasina Hall for female students and the six-floor Shaheed Kamruzzaman Hall for male students early next year. If the building construction is finished in time, around 1,500 more students will be able to stay in those halls. We may also urge government to construct two new dormitories on the campus."