BSMRSTU furniture scam: Hundreds of needlessly overpriced beds now gather rust

Around 800 unused steel beds are left unattended out in the open for lack of a better purpose at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University in Gopalganj Dhaka Tribune

These beds worth over Tk1 crore are now covered in lush green vegetation and as most of them have rusted, they are no longer usable

Hundreds of overpriced beds that were purchased needlessly have been gathering rust over the last few years as they continue to be left unattended for lack of being put to better use at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Science and Technology University in Gopalganj.

According to the university registrar’s office, a total of 2,670 steel beds were purchased between 2017 and 2019 during the tenure of the former vice chancellor, Khondoker Md Nasiruddin, at a cost of around Tk4.5 crore. The total cost puts the average cost of a single bed at over Tk16,000. Meanwhile, the same steel beds go for Tk6,000-Tk9,000 each in local markets.

Of these 2,670 beds, 1,870 beds are currently being used in student dormitories, with the rest left out in the open to gather rust for lack of storage facilities on the campus. 

On a visit to the university campus Wednesday afternoon, this correspondent found around 800 unused steel beds lying out in the open around the academic building. 

These beds worth over Tk1 crore are now covered in lush green vegetation and as most of them have rusted, they are no longer usable.

Several students of the university have alleged that the previous university administrative authority in-charge, in a bid to embezzle government-allocated funds, had unnecessarily purchased extra furniture for student dormitories while showing a cost that was more than twice the market value.

The students demanded a proper investigation into this purchase scam so that the persons responsible were brought to justice.

Meanwhile, another source at the university confirmed that the beds had been rusting because they were purchased unnecessarily and subsequently kept unattended.

Speaking on the issue, Prof MA Sattar, former director of the university’s 2017 development project, said: “I had issued the work orders for the purchase of the furniture that is now rusting on the instructions of former vice chancellor Khondoker Md Nasiruddin. I was even instructed to finance the work orders in advance. But I did not agree to do so and later resigned from the post of project director.”

Saifullah Raju, in-charge of the university storage facility, said: “I have written to the university administration five times in the last two years regarding the lack of storage capacity. Recently, after the storage capacity was slightly increased, some unused wooden benches, chairs and tables were moved into the storage. However, the storage facility still lacks adequate space for which the remaining unused furniture are still out in the open.”

Speaking on the matter, Prof AQM Mahbub, the current vice chancellor, said: “These unused beds are a waste of university property and by extension government funds and tax payers’ money. I have taken some initiatives to preserve the unused furniture at the university since taking charge as vice chancellor.

“The University Grants Commission and the Anti-Corruption Commission have already investigated the matter. I can’t make a decision on this alone without approval at a meeting of the board.”

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