Eight teachers and officials of Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University are going to Switzerland and Spain this month to procure 15 lifts to be installed at the university.
Six of the persons have no technical expertise in this regard. The vice-chancellor was included in the list too, but withdrew his name following criticism. The issue was widely discussed and debsted in the social media.
It is unethical for such a large number of people to go to Europe, funded by the lift suppliers, several teachers told Prothom Alo on condition of anonymity. The trip will just be a general one as six among the eight delegates are not technical persons, they said adding, if it was actually necessary, then one or two technical persons could at the most, but it has turned into just an overseas trip.
Vice-chancellor AHM Mustafizur Rahman told Prothom Alo, however, this is not a breach of rules. This was included in the project before he even joined the university. A committee was formed over the project implementation, he said, adding that he would not have formed such a committee if he was the VC at that time.
This is not the first time such controversies arose about the university. Allegations over various irregularities emerged during former vice-chancellor Mohit Ul Alam and the then acting VC AMM Shamsur Rahman terms. Several teachers told Prothom Alo, such allegations still crop up.
The 15 lifts worth Tk 130 million are being purchased from Schindler Elevator for two multi-storey buildings currently under construction. The suppliers are Messrs. Creative Engineers Ltd. The delegation including treasurer professor Jalal Uddin, dean of arts faculty Md Shahabuddin, acting registrar Md Humayun Kabir, dean of business administration faculty Subrata Kumar Dey, professor Sohel Rana, acting proctor Ujjal Kumar Pradhan, proctor and director (planning and development) Hafizur Rahman, and deputy chief engineer Mahbubul Islam will go one 9-day tour starting from 20 October.
All expenses including air fare are being provided by the elevator. The applications submitted to the Swiss embassy for visas included the VC's name, but he is not going anymore.
According to several university officials, the two technical persons in the delegation are engineer Hafizur Rahman and Mahbubul Islam. The rest of the delegation are basically teachers and in administrative positions. Hafizur Rahman told Prothom Alo that they were going on the tour following the public works department agenda and added that, technical expertise was not an essential condition. Those who supervise the programme as members of the local project implementation committee are going on the trip, he said.
Acting registrar Humayun Kabir said the issue of the tour was included in the project proposal and added, lift manufacturing plant is in Switzerland and these will be supplied from Spain which is why they are going to both countries.
Transparency International Bangladesh executive director Iftekharuzzaman termed the tour unethical saying, it’s possible now-a-days to carry out such inspections from home.
He said it is unfortunate that persons take advantage of such privileges.