Rooms named ‘Ganoroom’ and ‘Guestroom’ have become the ultimate nightmares for the first-year residential students at Dhaka University (DU) struggling with multiple problems, including unhealthy accommodation and bullying.
‘Ganoroom’ that accommodates more students that its capacity came into being only to address the accommodation crisis of the university while ‘Guestroom’ has ended up in being a ‘torture cell’ usually conducted by any ruling party’s ‘political brothers’ of respective halls every night.As per available information, DU students of first and second year are not allotted seats due to accommodation crisis. Therefore, they find no other means but to live in ‘Ganorooms’, which is, however, at the mercy of so-called political brothers, who use the freshmen in various political programmes as part of bullying.
In a ‘Ganoroom’, around 30-35 students sleep in a totally unhealthy environment. In the university’s 17 halls, there are about 150 such mass rooms where nearly three thousand students pass their nights.
Due to lack of space, their clothes, certificates and other important academic documents have to be kept in trunks outside their rooms with the risk of being stolen or misplaced.
‘Laden Cave’ as the students termed the ‘Ganoroom’ of Master Da’ Surjasen Hall where 60 students live. A freshman of the room said, “I’ve never ever imagined that I would live in such a condition. I can’t sleep at night because of over-crowding and bedbugs. The atmosphere is so unhealthy that students suffer from various diseases including allergy.”
A student of Bangabandhu Hall said, “I can’t concentrate in my studies due to political programmes. On the other hand, the reading room of our hall does not have adequate chairs.”
The accommodation problem is so serious in Salimullah Muslim Hall, Muktijuddha Ziaur Rahman Hall, Sir AF Rahman Hall, Jatir Janak Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Hall and Sergeant Jahurul Haque Hall that many students sleep on the corridors, mosques and reading rooms.The students said there are a lot of non-students, guests and those who have already completed their graduation living in the dormitories. If the hall authorities took steps against them, the seat crisis would greatly end.
The students are mentally and sometimes physically tortured by the second year political seniors. Ironically, ‘Guestroom’ is hardly used for guests but mostly for political purposes.
The worst sufferers are the first year students who bear the brunt of all kinds of tortures.
“Almost every night, we get a call to go to Guestroom where we are insulted, put into some kind of torture and misbehavior,” said a student of Salimullah Muslim Hall seeking anonymity.
While visiting various halls of the university, this correspondent witnessed such activities were rampant at night.
Contacted, several hall provosts said they don’t have any idea about the matter while some others said they would look into it.
The Dhaka University (DU) students have long been speaking out against the Ganorooms and Guestrooms, but so far no action has been taken to stop such illegal activities.
According to them, they expected that DUCSU will do something to eliminate these problems, but it has completely failed.
It’s a matter of pity that the elected student representatives of the hall unions are now forcing and threatening the general students to participate in different political programmes, some alleged.
Asked to comment on these issues, DU Vice-Chancellor (VC) Prof Md Akhtaruzzaman told the daily sun, “We have already informed the government about the accommodation crisis, but there is no space to construct new buildings. There are some barriers to implementing new projects.”
“The hall authorities along with hall unions will look into the Ganoroom and Guestroom issues,” he added.
The DU Central Students Union (DUCSU) AGS and BCL DU unit General Secretary Saddam Hossain said: “To resolve the problems, the university needs to be transformed into a full-fledged residential university.”
It is high time to build new halls to end the accommodation crisis, he said.
“DUCSU, the university administration and Chattra League will work together to protect the rights of the students,” he added.