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Chittagong University: A model of campus tourism

  • Published at 12:41 pm October 19th, 2017
  • Last updated at 01:06 pm October 19th, 2017
Chittagong University: A model of campus tourism
The day begins with the chirping of birds, many of which are unique to this region. Exotic animals, such as Hilly ‘Maya’ deer, porcupine, squirrel, python, water monitor and different reptiles and snakes roam around the hilly jungle under broad daylight. When the darkness of night falls, wild foxes start howling, while nocturnal wild boars and pole-cats come out from their den to hunt. This is not a description of a safari park in Bangladesh. This is just a glance of the magnificent biodiversity that can be found in the University of Chittagong campus. The university has the second largest campus in the country, with over 1,700 acres of hilly and plain lands. The rows of trees alongside the hilly roads present a beautiful spectacle for the eyes, and the hilly streams soothe the tired visitors. There something for every everyone here, be it rows of hilly areas or the sunrise and sunset from the mountain peak. The ever-prevalent biodiversity and the scenic natural beauty attracts nature lovers and tourists seeking a taste of the remarkable campus tourism.

Shuttle train in the Chittagong University campus | Photo: Courtesy

Rhythmic sounds of shuttle train, romance on hanging bridge and gossiping students at Jarul Tola-Jhupri-Zero Point add even more buzz to the eco-friendly campus. “The tourism potential of this region was not given much importance in the last 50 years. However, the incumbent CU administration has taken some short and long-term initiatives to boost tourism at the campus,” said CU Vice Chancellor Professor Dr Iftekhar Uddin Chowdhury. “CU is a great prospect for campus tourism. Based on this prospect, we took steps boost campus tourism, in a bid to increase income of the university. Several projects are currently underway, such as digging new lakes and dredging old ones, tree plantation, beautification and preserving wildlife. “After completing these initiatives, we would send a concrete proposal to a concerned government official,” added the VC. According to the university’s Department of Zoology, about 150 species of birds, and more than 140 species of butterflies have been identified around the huge campus area so far. The department also catalogued about 440 species of bees, hornet and insects of similar groups at the campus. More than 368 species of useful and harmful insects are found there.

Mountain climbing can be one of the main attractions of the campus tourism spot | Photo: Courtesy

The CU campus is also home to around 20 species of mammals such as deer, porcupine, squirrel, fox, monkey, wild boar and pole-cat. Twenty species of reptiles, along with a python, water monitors and snakes also roam around the campus. 15 species of amphibians, including several species of frogs add the simply amazing biodiversity of the campus. Apart from the live fauna thriving in the region, a collection taxidermied animal bodies can be viewed in the Zoology department. Professor Dr Badrul Amin Bhuiyan, a former teacher of CU zoology department, told the Dhaka Tribune: “We discovered many new species of insects and animals in our campus.” According to CU’s Institute of Forestry and Environmental Science, the university has created a forest on around 600 acres of land out of 1,700 acres. Apart from forest area, hills and hilly jungles occupy more 250 acres of land in the campus.

Many species of butterflies can be seen  in the campus in a certain time of a year | Photo: Courtesy

A 150-acre botanical garden is also on the campus that helps the students, teachers and visitors relax and take in the beauty. CU has five large ponds and 25 lakes inside the campus area, along with different sized natural hilly streams. “We have a garden where we collect different rare trees that are extinct species. Besides, we also preserve the species that would be extinct due to global climate change,” said a member of CU Environment Committee Prof Dr Al Amin. Along with different murals at different points around the campus that proudly displays the history of Bangladesh, there is a museum near the university library area, where more than 2,017 ancient historical artefacts are preserved. The shuttle train is the main attraction of the university, as it is the one and only train service for university students across the world.

The main entrance of Chittagong Unversity | Photo: Courtesy

According to the students and teachers of the university, the shuttle is the heart of the CU, as it is the main transport system for the educational institution. Jobra village, a village adjacent to the campus, is the area where Bangladesh’s lone Nobel Prize winner Dr Muhammad Yunus initiated his micro-credit finance system by establishing Grameen Bank. The village has been nicknamed “Nobel Village” to commemorate the achievement. Towkir Mahmud, a student of the Department of International Relations in CU, who is also a cultural activist at the campus, told Dhaka Tribune: “I have visited almost every university campus in the country, but CU is best for its green environment and diverse natural beauty.” Giving references to different institutions across the world that implemented campus tourism as a successful project, the Chairman of Communication and Journalism Department in CU, Abul Kalam Azad said: “Our campus is full of enormous biodiversity and scenic natural beauty. “We can utilize this in a prosperous way by using available resources that are currently being left unused. The nature lovers would be more attracted by the initiatives taken by the authorities,” he added.

Colourful train at the Chittagong Universtiy campus premises | Photo: Courtesy

Ali-ar-Raji, another teacher of the same department, told the Dhaka Tribune: “CU campus usually gets three months of vacation each year. If the campus can be fully opened for the tourists during this vacation time, it could become a great source of income for the university.” Speaking about the matter, CU Zoology department Prof Dr Farid Ahsan said: “Our campus is eco-friendly. So, we have to vigilant in protecting the animal habitats during infrastructural development.” Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, CU Proctor Ali Azgar Chowdhury said: “We have beefed up security around the campus. I can monitor almost the entire campus from my office-room through more than 40 CCTV cameras.” “We have set up several billboards and murals across the campus to raise awareness for preserving the wildlife here,” he said. An independent committee is working to protect the biodiversity and natural beauty of the campus. The university also has its own squad of security guards and ansars, patrolling every corner of the campus round the clock.
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