Poor hygiene scares off diners
The dining halls and canteens of all 16 dormitories of Rajshahi University have been serving substandard food in an unhygienic environment allegedly due to indifference of the authorities.
More often than not, students have found dead cockroaches, flies, tails of lizards and stones in their food.
Some students alleged that in many cases, they fell sick after having stale food.
The situation has led to the canteens seeing a decline in the number of students eating there as more and more students opt to eat outside.
On November 5, the canteen of Shaheed Habibur Rahman Hall was closed for a night after resident students demonstrated as two of their hall mates found cockroaches in their chicken curry.
During the month of Ramadan this year, two students found a cockroach and a tail of a lizard in their dinner at Shaheed Suhrawardy Hall.
On December 6, 2010, rat meat was served to two students at dinner at Sher-e-Bangla hall. After the incident was known, the hall canteen remained closed for more than six months.
The authorities admitted the incident occurred saying a rat was accidentally mixed with chicken cooked for dinner that night.
As authorities took no initiatives to improve the situation, most students began eating elsewhere.
Rajob Ali and Mohammad Ali, who serve food at the canteen of Shaheed Suhrawardy Hall, said nowadays hardly 100 to 150 students can be seen at the dining halls, while just two years back the number was about 350 to 400. Each hall accommodates about 600 students.
Some resident students of Suhrawardy hall said although they have been living in the hall for over four years, they hardly eat at the dining hall as the environment is unhygienic.
Two of the students, Tonmoy Dey and Asaduzzaman Newton, claimed they have only eaten at the hall for some 20 days, and almost immediately they fell sick.
Some doctors at Rajshahi University Medical Centre said they have frequently treated students with food poisoning.
Students of Syed Ameer Ali Hall made the same allegation about hygiene at their dining hall.
“The plates and glasses are dirty and have a bad smell,” one student told The Daily Star.
Hashem Ali and Sultan Ali, in-charge of the canteen at Sher-e-Bangla hall, said it is difficult for them to serve good food in a hygienic environment due to a shortage of fund.
They said the money charged to students is too low.
Each student pays Tk 20 for lunch and Tk 16 for dinner.
Hashem Ali urged the university authorities to give them subsidy so that they can serve better food.
Contacted, Prof Asabul Haque, provost of Suhrawardy hall, echoed Hashem saying it is difficult to serve delicious food within the limited money charged to students.
RU student adviser Prof Sadequl Arefin Matin said they would discuss the issue, including that of giving subsidy, and talk to the hall provosts in this regard.