Jagannath University opens its first residential hall, only for females

After 16 years since its establishment, Jagannath University, or JnU, has opened its only hall of residence to female students.

Education Minister Dipu Moni virtually joined the inauguration programme on Wednesday and promised to visit the newly built residential hall of the university, Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib Hall.

The 16-storey residential building is located on Liaquat Avenue, a few minutes' walk from the university campus.

The students will formally enter the hall on the birth anniversary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on Thursday, Mar 17.

Professor Shamima Begum, provost of the hall, said, “We’ve got this hall after years of waiting. This is a very joyous day for us. The students too must take the responsibility of maintenance of the hall.”

JnU Teachers Association General Secretary Prof Abul Kalam Md Lutfar Rahman demanded that a hall for male students be built and named after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Md Imdadul Hoque said, “We’re happy to become residential, partially though.”

He expressed the hope to resolve all the issues through dialogue as soon as possible for the improvement of the university.

The list of 1,200 students for the allotment of seats in the hall was published on Feb 24.

The hall has accommodation for female students from the second floor to the fifteenth floor keeping the ground floor and the first floor for canteen and reading room.

There was a buzz of excitement among the students about the hall.

Rima Bala, an English department student, told bdnews24.com, "I’m very excited and looking forward to getting into the hall. We’re immensely happy to have our own hall."

Tarin Ferdous, a botany department student, said: “I’m very happy to get a seat in the first hall of the university. I didn’t  expect to get allotment here as we’ve only one residential hall.”

The students of Jagannath University have been demanding a residential facility since 2005 when Jagannath College was elevated to the status of a university.

The authorities had been facing difficulties in reclaiming the halls occupied by influential locals while the old campus in densely populated Old Dhaka lacks space.

Later on Feb 9, 2012, activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League's (BCL) Jagannath University unit occupied the abandoned place at 3/1 Liaquat Avenue and hung the banner of Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib Hall.

A year later, on Aug 25, 2013, it was decided to build two 20-storey towers for one thousand students of the University in a meeting of the university authorities with the Education Engineering Department (EED).

Later on Oct 22 of that year, the then education minister Nurul Islam Nahid laid the foundation stone of the 16-storey hall.

Meanwhile, the government inaugurated the construction work of the hall on Oct 20, 2014, under the 'Jagannath University Development Project' in the wake of student protests.

Later the construction project had to be extended several times due to the slow pace of work.

Earlier, the hall was inaugurated by the former vice-chancellor Mizanur Rahman on the 15th founding anniversary of the university.