According to university sources, every year a total of 4,926 students get admitted to the university for graduation. On average, some 60 per cent of them are male students. The university has a total of 27,550 regular students at present. Of them, some 17,494 are male students.
Shireen Akhter, vice-chancellor (VC) of the university, declined to talk about the allocation of seats for the male students. The proctor of the university and the hall provosts couldn’t provide any reasonable answer in this regard either.
Although not allocating seats, seven provosts and 27 teachers are getting allowances as residential teachers. The residential teachers get 11 per cent of their basic salary as allowance while the provosts get 12 per cent.
Who in which halls?
The university unit of Chhatra League has long been divided into two factions. Members of one of the factions are followers of state minister for education, Mohibul Hassan Chowdhury, and the other faction is follower of former mayor AJM Nasir Uddin. Again, the president of Chhatra League’s university unit is a follower of Mohibul Hasdsan while the secretary is a follower of AJM Nasir Uddin. Even the two factions of university Chhatra League are divided in 11 sub-factions. Two of these factions named ‘Bijoy’ and ‘Choose Friends with Care’ are under Mohibul and the remaining nine are followers of Nasir.
Speaking to the leaders and the activists of Chhatra League it was learnt that, some 1000 rooms of the 1080 rooms in the seven halls for male students – Shahjalal Hall, Shah Amanat Hall, Shaheed Abdur Rab Hall, AF Rahman Hall, Alaol Hall, Suhrawardy Hall and Masterda Surya Sen Hall are under the control of Chhatra League. The rest are occupied by the newspersons of several media outlets working in the campus and visually impaired students. The followers of Nasir Uddin have absolute control over Shahjalal Hall and Masterda Surja Sen Hall.
Asked about controlling seats in the residential halls, Rezaul Haque, president of university Chhatra League, told Prothom Alo, “We help those who are in crisis. We make arrangements for them to stay in the halls through the authorities."
When asked about benefiting the Chhatra League activists, he claimed that students themselves join Chhatra League. No one forces them.
General students in misery
A student doesn’t have to pay any fees for staying in the halls. The overall cost for staying in residential halls, including food and transport cost, is around Tk 3,000 to 6,000. The amount increases to Tk 5,000 to 9,000 if the student stays in a cottage (private semi-pucca room) while a student living in a mess has to spend around Tk 7,000 to 10,000 per month. At least five thousand students live in several messes and cottages near the campus.
Prothom Alo spoke to 20 students of different departments who are deprived of seats in the residential halls. They say a student needs to get involved with Chhatra League if he wants to get a seat. Even if someone has no other way other than getting into the seat, he lives in fear of political clashes. If there was regular allocation and monitoring of the authorities, the common student would not have to suffer this much.
Leaders occupying rooms even after passing
Rezaul Haque, president of Chittagong University Chhatra League, enrolled in the statistics department in 2006-07 session 16 years ago. He completed his graduation in 2010 and post-graduation in 2013. Other students who enrolled in 2006-07 completed their post-graduation eight years ago and left the university but Rezaul Haque is still involved in student politics. He stays at the room no. 311 of Shah Amanat Hall. Rezaul Haque claimed he is now enrolled at Japanese language course.
Iqbal Hossain, general secretary of Chittagong University Chhatra League, is a student of marketing department of 2010-11 session. He passed graduation in 2016 and post-graduation in this season. Iqbal Hossain stays in the room no. 306 of ShahJalal Hall.
Former vice president Nasir Uddin Shah stays at room no. 309 of Shah Amanat Hall, former organizing secretary Mohammad Ilias at room no. 211 of Suhrawardy Hall, former member Saidul Islam at room no. 416 of Shahjalal Hall, leader of Varsity Express group Pradip Chakraborty at room no. 220 of Shaheed Abdur Rab Hall, leader of Sixty Nine group Raju Munsi and Shamsuzzaman Samrat at room no. 216 and 222 of Shahjalal Hall and leader of Ekakar subgroup Moinul Islam lives in room no. 415 of Shahjalal Hall.
As to why the student leaders still stay at dormitories even after obtaining their degrees, president Rezaul Haque said once seats are allotted anew student leaders will leave halls. They stayed at the halls for such long since there was no allotment, he added.
As to why there had been no seat allotment for past five years, proctor Robiul Islam Bhuiyan told Prothom Alo process on seat allotment began in 2018 but they could not complete it for various reasons. Since then new students have been staying at halls after talking to seniors students. No complaint has been received on seat allotment as yet and it had not been possible to complete in the remaining time due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, process on seat allotment will start soon by publishing advertisement, he added.
Regarding no student other than the activists of Chattra League gets a seat at hall, the proctor said, “We are not aware of such thing.”
Academician M Sikandar Khan opined that it is a kind of anarchy to not allot dormitory seats for five years. Education as well as discipline in halls faces threat amidst such atmosphere and that must be resolved immediately, he added.
*This report appeared in the print and online editions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Asish Basu and Hasanul Banna