Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Vice Chancellor Sharfuddin Ahmed is seeking government accommodation. He has submitted an application to the Ministry of Housing and Public Works requesting the allocation of House No 38 on Elephant Road in the capital.
However, the ministry has stated that there is no provision to provide government accommodation to officers and employees of autonomous institutions.
This dispute over the allotment of a government house to the BSMMU vice-chancellor has been ongoing for more than a year and a half. According to the ministry, autonomous or specialised institutions should arrange for their own housing and seeking government accommodation is not appropriate.
Additionally, government employees currently reside in the house on Elephant Road. If the house is assigned to Professor Sharfuddin Ahmed, they would need to be evicted.
The ministry of public works stated that the BSMMU VC initially applied for residence in the first phase in January of the previous year. Then, on 5 September, he submitted another application requesting government accommodation, bringing the issue to light once again.
It was discovered that, based on the first letter, a government house was allocated to Professor Sharfuddin in Gulshan. However, the ministry is now asserting that assigning the house to the vice-chancellor was a mistake.
This is because there is no provision to allocate government housing to individuals working in autonomous or specialised institutions; housing facilities are reserved only for government officials and employees.
Officials from the housing department of the ministry further clarified that they solely arrange housing for government officials and employees. An official from the ministry stated that a house was somehow allocated in the name of the BSMMU vice-chancellor, but the allocation of that house was cancelled last year.
However, Sharfuddin Ahmed told Prothom Alo that the house in Gulshan was not cancelled. He did not move there as it was far from his workplace. After that, the matter did not progress any further.
In the letter provided by the BSMMU Vice-Chancellor on 5 September, it was emphasised that this university is the first specialised medical university established in the name of the Father of the Nation. The university has gained renown as the 'Center of Excellence' in the country's medical field, treating approximately 8,000 patients from remote areas of the country daily.
The letter highlighted that specialist medical services are also extended to general patients by providing specialized services in the evening. Currently, the university is offering postgraduate MD, MS degree, and diploma courses through 56 departments.
In this context, the letter requested the allocation of the house on Elephant Road near the university in the name of the Vice-Chancellor. Currently, the Vice-Chancellor resides at his residence in Dhanmondi. Other officials of the university also live in their own houses or rented accommodations.
When asked about the second application, Sharfuddin Ahmed told Prothom Alo, "There will be no official house for the vice-chancellor of the university, how is it possible!"
When attention was drawn to this, the Vice-Chancellor stated, "The university does not have its own land, nor does it have funds. We have been informed by the Ministry of Public Works that there is no provision for providing housing. However, I would request the creation of such a facility."