Bangabandhu Memorial Library in the district town hardly sees any reader as the four-storey building has virtually turned into a business set-up, housing a hotel, a bKash centre, and a conference room.
There are some books kept in three selves on the ground floor but in absence of librarian or any other staff to help readers get access to the books, those remain untouched.
There is not even any photo of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The four-storey library building adjacent to Goroshthan Jame Masjid area of the district town was inaugurated by Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) Affairs State Minister Bir Bahadur Ushwe Sing on October 30, 2015.
From the very beginning, the building gave the impression of a commercial set-up, said several town dwellers.
Mong Owai Ching Marma, assistant engineer of Bandarban Hill District Council (BHDC), said, “BHDC implemented the project of 'Bangabandhu Memorial Library' at a cost of Tk 1.50 crore in the financial years of 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.”
“District Awami League's [AL] Organising Secretary Mozammel Haque Bahadur was contractor of the project. Although the project was meant for highlighting Bangabandhu to the readers, a few local AL leaders planned to make it a commercial building,” he added.
Contacted over phone, Mozammel declined to comment in this regard.
“The purpose of establishing Bangabandu Memorial Library in the tourist town was to highlight the works, historical moments, political life and personality of Bangabandhu but a few leaders of the ruling party have turned it into a commercial centre,” said Kazi Mujibur Rahman, former secretary of district unit AL, who was earlier expelled by his local party leaders.
Md Sattar, a local AL man who is using the third floor of the building for hotel business, said, “I don't want to make any comment in this regard. If you have any query you may contact with party leaders.”
AKM Jahangir, vice president of AL's district unit and owner of Mother Telecom Bandarban bKash House, said, “I rented the first floor of Bangabandhu Memorial Library building for a bKash centre and pay Tk 15,000 monthly rent for this.”
Contacted, CHT Affairs State Minister Bir Bahadur U Shwe Sing said, “I am not interested to answer any question related to Bangabandu Memorial Library.”
Bandarban Deputy Commissioner Dilip Kumar Banik said, “We are not aware of the condition of Bangabandhu Memorial Library.”
Kwe Shwe Hla, chairman of Bandarban Hill District Council (BHDC), also president of the district unit AL, said, “District unit AL is now taking care of the library after the implementation of the project.”
BHDC sources said there is a provision to hand over a library to the cultural affairs ministry after implementation of the project but it was not followed in case of Bangabandhu Memorial Library in the district town.