May 20, 2013 | 02:57 AM (BD Time)
20 May, 2013 Monday
Slum-style life in DU dormitories
The students of Dhaka University (DU) have been facing an acute residential accommodation crisis due to inadequate space in residential halls and hostels.
A large number of students of different dormitories of the University have been forced to lead a slum-like life.
In absence of space many students virtually huddle in crammed rooms besides sharing foods under temporary private arrangement. Many also live in TV rooms, game rooms, mosques and verandas. But the authorities so far have not taken any step in over the matter, the students alleged.
According to University Grants Commission, nearly 58 per cent students of the university have not been allocated any room in the residential halls. As a result, they have to live in a very precarious condition that hampers their academic activities. DU sources said at present there are 17 residential halls, 3 dormitories and 2 hostels in the university to cater to need of more than 35,000 students. About 17, 000 students are yet to get residential status, they added. Mostafizur Rahman, a second year student of Sir AF Rahman Hall, told The New Nation that, "I have been trying from last year to get a seat in the hall but I am yet get one.""I have to sleep on the floor of a balcony of a residential hall for more than 2 years," said Muhammad Salauddin, a student of Salimullah Muslim Hall.
Sometimes students spend the whole night sleeping on the roofs of the halls, said a number of DU students.
Salimullah Muslim Hall authorities said there are 160 rooms in the two-stories dormitory, built over 95 years ago before the DU was formally established in 1921.
Some 1,500 residential students have crammed into 160 rooms. Of them, 700 are legal occupants and the rest are staying on temporary basis. Besides, scores of students are overflowing into corridors (verandah).
But the general students and the hall unit leaders of different student organisations said the total number of students staying in the hall would be much higher. On an average, 960 students stay in 120 rooms with eight students per room, they said. About 100 students stay in games room, amusement room and other in common rooms while 60 students live in Room No. 11 and 40 occupy Room No. 56.
More than 300 students stay in verandahs, while over 40 residential students, mostly leaders of student bodies, occupy 40 single rooms of the old student hostel, named after Nawab Salimullah.
SM Hall Provost Prof Dr Golum Mohammud Bhuiyan told The New Nation that not only SM hall, but also other dormitories are also facing such accommodation crisis.
Expansion of the hostel or construction of new rooms will be difficult as the SM Hall was built in a unique architecture style. The authorities, however, have taken some steps to build two separate hostels which will substantially ease the accommodation crisis, said the hall Provost.
"Besides, we are considering some measures to take tough action against non-allottee residential students and those who are occupying rooms even after expiry of the tenure of allotment," he said.
The provosrt said AF Rahman Hall, Surya Sen Hall and others male and female halls are also facing acute accommodation crisis, allowing students to live in 'Gono' (mass) rooms. There are 16 'Gono' rooms in Surya Sen Hall, five in AF Rahman Hall, ten in Zahurul Haque Hall, eight in Ziaur Rahman Hall, nine in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Hall, eleven in Kabi Jasim Uddin Hall, thirteen in Muhsin Hall, two in Rokeya Hall, four in Shamsurnahar Hall, four in Kuyet Moitree Hall and three in Fajilatunnesa Mujib Hall.
Students said almost all the occupants of verandah and other corridors are newcomers, mostly 1st year and 2nd year students; because they are not allotted any room as old students (Honours 3rd, 4th years and Masters) are occupy most of the rooms.
They alleged that many occupants of the 40 single rooms have got room allotment on political consideration. Such occupants live in their respective rooms with one or two outsiders and decline to vacate rooms long after the end of terms of allotment, thus denying accommodation to new students.
Aftab Ahamed, a second year Political Science student, said the overall atmosphere that now exists in the hostels is not conducive to studies. "We cannot complete our homework and study properly due to rowdy condition and noise," said a student who stays in a verandah. "Mosquito menace is another big problem," he added.
"Mosquitoes haunt the halls as soon as the sun sets and bugs bite us the whole night, making it impossible for us to have a good sleep at night," said Ashiqur Rahman, a student of Law Department, who stays in a 'Gono' room.
On the other hand, the residential students of DU alleged that the leaders and activists of the ruling party Awami League-backed students' body, Bangladesh Chhatra League, have grabbed most of the rooms and allocated most of them among their followers and loyal students.
Campus sources said some Chhatra League leaders leach ive in a single room where normally around eight students stay. They also said the relatives of some of the Chhatra League leaders often stay in the halls.
The responsibility of distributing seats should be performed by the house tutors of the respective halls. But the reality is that Chhatra League leaders have taken the responsibility in DU.
Meanwhile, although house tutors of the all DU halls get money and credits to improve his or her dignity but they do not perform their duty properly. They totally depend on BCL leaders for distributing the seats, students allege.
Though the female students are not so involved in student politics, the same problems also exist at the female halls as the number of rooms is inadequate for the number of the female students.
Nearly five thousand students get admission each year in DU with most of them coming from outside Dhaka.
As these students have no suitable place to live in Dhaka, they try their best to get a seat in the halls.
Often students who have completed their final exams try to keep their rooms by getting a job in the hall, creating additional problems.
Only two residential halls for the students of Dhaka University, the largest public university of country, have been built and two others have already been built in the last 15 years, while a number of buildings have been built for teachers and officials.
DU Vice Chancellor Prof Dr AAMS Arefin Siddique said the problem will ease to some extent with the opening of two new residential hostels - one for male students and the other for female students.
"Construction work for Maulana Bhasani Hall and Begum Sufia Kamal Hall are going on in full swing. Once they are completed, the accommodation problem will be reduced substantially," he said.
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