‘Don’t turn JU into a concrete jungle’
We are not against development. We are against unplanned development and corruption. What if a big budget is allocated again? Will authorities then demolish these new buildings too?
Jahangirnagar University (JU) is soon going to inaugurate construction works for 14 new establishments on the campus, under a Tk 1,445-crore mega project.
However, since the university has no definite or central master plan, JU takes up projects whenever a new budget is allocated. And so, stakeholders of the campus criticised the latest step, saying that the institution is not thinking long term and is building and demolishing structures without proper planning. Therefore, a significant part of money gets wasted.
The 14 establishments include library, administrative building, sports complex, lecture theatre/exam hall, guest house, playgrounds, living quarters. Besides, construction work for Shaheed Rafiq-Jabbar Hall would be completed for 152 students.
The cabinet committee on government purchase approved purchase orders for a 10-storey administrative building (around Tk 138 crore), six-storey library (around Tk 101 crore), and three-storey sports complex (around Tk 119 crore), said Md Nasir Uddin, director of planning and development at JU.
Mentionable, JU already has two administrative buildings, and authorities are planning to demolish the existing library to make the new one, a decision that many are against.
Besides, purchase orders for a six-storey lecture theatre (around Tk 64 crore), which will also be used as an exam hall, and a 10-storey guest house (around Tk 37 crore) for post-graduate researchers have been approved by the education minister, he informed.
Purchase orders for other establishments have been approved by JU's vice chancellor as the head of Procuring Entity, Nasir said. "The work will start soon."
Prof Rayhan Rhyne, a faculty member and convenor of the campaign "JU against Corruption", said, "Jahangirnagar is becoming a concrete jungle day by day, as the university has no definite central master plan. Our demand is to save Jahangirnagar from such unplanned activities."
"In fact, this project has been prepared by an architect, not an urban planner. Such projects should be prepared by the country's best planners. We need specialists in this sector, who know what's best and will do the best for us," he said.
"No such planner was allowed to assist in this development project. Plans were made with the help of only architects, which is an unwise decision," he added.
"We are not against development. We are against unplanned development and corruption. What if a big budget is allocated again? Will authorities then demolish these new buildings too?" he questioned.
Rakibul Rony, president of JU Chhatra Union, said, "We don't understand the validity of constructing a new administrative building, despite already having two."
Akhtaruzzaman Sohel, president of JU Chhatra League, proposed not to demolish the existing library from the very beginning, rather do so after ensuring a part of the new library is already prepared.
Contacted, JU VC Prof Nurul Alam said, "Until all stakeholders are satisfied, we will continue to sit with them to discuss what we can modify. A new probe committee will be formed to monitor the project work." About another administrative building, he said, "Since we have separate buildings for administrative works, a new building is required to include all offices in one building."