Local contractors illegally sold a huge amount of soil dug up from Rajshahi University land, defying order of the authorities. However, the RU administration has not taken any effective steps against it.
University sources said following a tender in March 2020, RU agriculture project authority leased out 10 bighas of land for four years to excavate a pond, near Shaheed Shamsuzzoha Hall. Under the project, the lifted soil was supposed to be kept around the pond. But the contractors -- Masud Rana, also a brother of local Awami League leader, and Ohona Traders -- sold the soil, ignoring the terms of the tender, said Prodip Kumer Roy, acting officer of the agriculture project.
During a visit last week, this correspondent found 17 tractors being used to transport the soil outside the campus. Requesting anonymity, workers said around 200 tractors of soil were dug up every day, and sold to brick kilns and others.
Contractor Masud Rana told this newspaper, "We were verbally permitted to take soil; authorities were informed about it."
Dablu Sarker, owner of Ohona Traders, did not respond to the correspondent's calls.
Pro-Vice Chancellor Prof Anand Kumar Saha, RU agriculture project advisor panel chairman, said there is no chance for such permission. "In addition, we issued notices to stop excavation, on March 31 and April 10, but they defied the orders. So, we recommended the university authorities to take legal action against them."
Contacted, RU Registrar Prof Md Abdus Salam said, "We held a meeting with the contractors on Saturday. They will not take soil further, and they agreed to follow the tender's terms." Asked why no action was taken all this time and what will be the next course of action, he declined to comment.
VC M Abdus Sobhan could not be reached for comments over the phone.