Three student dormitories at Government Azizul Haque College in the district have remained closed for nine years, creating severe accommodation crisis for many students.
One of the largest educational institutions in the country's northern region, the college was established in 1939.
The institution has 22 departments and more than 36,000 students, but there is not enough dormitories for over 20,000 students from other adjoining districts, said Principal Md Shahjan Ali, adding that it has only five halls.
The dormitories are Shaheed Aktar Ali Moon Hall, Shaheed Titumir Hall, Sher-e-Bangla Hall, Begum Rokeya Hall and Fakhruddin Hall.
Shaheed Aktar Ali Moon Hall, Shaheed Titumir Hall and Sher-e-Bangla Hall remained closed following a clash between the men of Islami Chhatra Shibir and Bangladesh Chhatra League in 2009, said the principal.
There are only 240 seats in the three hostels for male students. Meanwhile, over 600 girls are staying in three-storied Begum Rokeya Hall that has accommodation capacity for only 300 residents while four-storied Fakhruddin Hall has only 96 seats.
Resident of a mess Shahidul Islam, a master's student of Management Department, said a student has to spend Tk 500 to Tk 1500 per month for living in a mess, but if a student stays at hall, he has to pay Tk 1800 for a year.
Promita Barua, a 4th year student of Bangla Department, said Begum Rokeya Hall is the lone hostel for female students but it houses only 300 residents.
“I have to pay a monthly rent of Tk 800 for staying at a private mess in the town while the amount would have been Tk 1,400 for a year if I could have stayed at the dormitory,” said Promita.
Assistant Professor Shafi Mahmud, also former superintendent of Shaheed Akter Ali Moon Hall, said after closure of the dormitory, all the furniture got damaged.
“The repairing work of four-storied Shaheed Aktar Ali Moon Hall and two-storied Shaheed Titumir Hall, which started in 2017, will end soon and then we will allocate the seats for the selected students,” he said.
Principal Shahjan Ali, who joined the college over a year ago, said earlier the previous principals did not take any initiative to reopen the three closed halls.
It is not possible to repair one-storied Sher-e-Bangla Hall as it has been completely damaged, he said.
The construction work of a five-storied girl's hostel for 100 residents has been almost completed and it will be opened soon, said the principal.