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23 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Construction work of ‘Martyred Intellectuals' Monument’

Probe committee at RU finds corruption

Jahidul Islam, RU
Probe committee at RU finds corruption

An investigation committee is said to have found corruption in the construction work of the Martyred Intellectuals' Monument at Rajshahi University (RU). About 496kg of copper has been used instead of the planned 1,400kg, though the university authorities paid Tk 14 lakh, the cost of the total amount. The committee has reportedly said that the project and implementation committee stole the rest of the money and copper meant for construction of a mural.

To build the monument, along with a mural of the Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Tk 82,65,161 had been allotted at a syndicate meeting on February 4, 2017. The outgoing vice-chancellor, Prof Dr Mohammad Mizan, was in the chair, and pro-VC, Prof Dr Chawdury Sarwar Jahan Sojol, conducted it.

Of the total amount, Tk 14 lakh was for 1,400kg of copper, with one kg costing Tk 1,000. The then director of the Institute of Environmental Science, Prof Dr Sultan-ul-Islam, was made convener of the installation committee, and 11 teachers were to assist him.

The RU authorities built the Martyred Intellectuals' Monument to pay homage to intellectuals who were martyred during the 1971 struggle for freedom from Pakistani oppression and exploitation, and for upholding democracy, human rights and equality.

The then VC, Prof Dr Mohammad Mizanuddin, laid the foundation stone on the August 10, 2017, adjacent to the central library and administration building. Vice-chancellor Prof Dr M Abdus Sobhan inaugurated the monument on December 14, 2018 by observing Martyred Intellectuals Day.

Subsequently, teachers and students held protests, questioning the lack of transparency in the management and construction of the monument. This forced the university authorities to form a five-member probe committee on October 31, 2017. Prof Dr Abul Kashem of the History Department was made head of the committee.

The probe body found irregularities in the use of different elements, one of them being copper.

The probe body asked the consultation committee head, Prof. Ritendra Kumar Sharma of the Fine Arts Faculty, for his views. He said at first 850 kg of copper had been bought, and 638kg (25 per cent) was damaged and around 120kg was damaged while being transported. In the final stage, another 26 kg was damaged. A total of 906kg of copper, costing Tk 9 lakh, was damaged.

A sum of Tk 60,000 had been allotted for glass, but no glass was used for the monument or mural.

The probe body also found other irregularities, and requested the VC, Prof Dr M Abdus Sobhan, to take action against the convener and the other 11 members of the installation committee.

Prof Dr Sultan-ul-Islam, convener of the project, said, "The committee submitted its report without talking to me. Their charges are false and fabricated. I have no involvement in the irregularities. When the construction work was going on, the then VC, Prof. Dr Mohammed Mizanuddin, gave me charge and I worked with honesty. They spoke to other members of the project committee and sub-committee, but did not raise the allegations."

Vice-chancellor Prof. Dr M Abdus Sobhan said: "The investigation report has been submitted over allegation of irregularities in constructing the Martyred Intellectuals' Monument. I will take action according to the report. I will not say anything about the report now."

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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