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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

DU centenary monument: Construction experiences delays, design sparks criticism

  • Tk21 crore project was supposed to be completed by June last year
  • Mal Chattar transformed from green space to concrete-heavy area
Update : 19 May 2024, 07:17 PM

The construction of the centenary monument at Dhaka University's Mal Chattar, which began on December 18, 2022 with an estimated completion date of June 30, 2023, remains unfinished.

Despite the university authorities allocating Tk21 crore for the project and assurances that 99% of work had been completed by January 19 this year, significant delays persist.

Meanwhile, its design, selected by a special jury board formed by the University of Dhaka and the Institute of Architects Bangladesh (IAB), has faced criticism from students and some faculty members. 

Intended to symbolize "infinity reflecting vastness, inclusiveness and magnanimity," the design has met with the disapproval of university students. 

In the proposal, the authorities had sought the drawing of the landmark monument, where students and teachers could practice free thinking. 

Samin Rahman of niin Architects, the firm responsible for the design, said as the project was not fully finished, discussing it might lead to misinformation.

Further controversy has arisen over allegations of low-quality bulbs being used for the monument without proper lab testing. This issue, along with the delay, has exacerbated dissatisfaction among students.

Mohammad Zabed Alam Mridha, director (acting) of planning and development, Dhaka University, said the university had to extend the project timeline because it had not received some allocated funds from the government on time.

Mal Chattar, previously a green space where students could relax surrounded by greenery, has been transformed into a concrete-heavy area with bright lights. This change has alienated many students, who feel the space has lost its natural beauty and tranquillity. The area now attracts more outsiders, adding to the frustration of the students.

One student, on condition of anonymity, said crime rates had increased because students no longer felt a sense of ownership over their campus. “It is too crowded. They now prefer to stay in their dormitories, which are quieter and calmer. Some students go to Suhrawardy Udyan, but female students often do not feel safe there due to past instances of crimes."

"The university has totally failed to provide a supportive, safe and pleasant campus. Mal Chattar was one of the few places where we could spend quality time, but it has been ruined,” said another student.

Many students said they were dissatisfied because they found the design and construction to be cheap and the materials used unaligned with the aesthetics of the Dhaka University campus. 

Additionally, they said, the prolonged construction period had added to their frustration.

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