Students blockade roads for second consecutive day Monday | Greenwatch Dhaka | The leading online daily of Bangladesh

Students blockade roads for second consecutive day Monday


Students of private universities have strted demonstration on the main arteries of Dhaka’s traffic system for the second day on Monday paralysing the city to press their demand for the withdrawal of Value Added Tax (Vat) on their tuition fees.
Although the National Board of Revenue and Finance Minister AMA Muhith has said that students do not have to pay the Vat imposed on private universities, the students have argued as to from what sources the private universities little over 80 across the country will collect fund to pay the same. Their major source of income is tuition fees and some universities have already collolected 7.5 percent Vat with fees, although they have in te face of the movement promised to return the same.Private university students came out to streets first on  Thursday paralysing the traffic system and life in the capital of 160 million. The movement has spread to other cities like Chittagong and Sylhet which also have private universities.
Members of the intelligentsia have raised questions over the justification of raising tuition fees because education is neither a commodity nor a service but a basic right of citizens. Then again there is a question of discrimination. Whereas the public universities run on tax payers’ money – per student education running into lakhs of taka – why the students of private universities would have to pay for Vat to pursue learning at higher levels.
On Sunday thousands of students of private universities again took to the streets across the capital on to press home their demand for withdrawal of 7.5 per cent value added tax (VAT) imposed on tuition fees.
Agitating students blocked several key points, including Rampura, Mohakhali, Baridhara, Dhanmandi, Mirpur Road, Uttara, Banani, Gulshan and other areas, causing severe traffic congestion in the capital.
Following the massive protest by the students, the traffic on Dhaka streets was severely affected, triggering huge sufferings to commuters.
Several hundred commuters got stranded on different roads of the capital due to the huge tailback. Many had to walk long distances to reach their destinations.
Students of East West University (EWU) boycotted classes, came down to the street and blocked Rampura bridge in the capital around 10:00am.
Due to the blockade, road communication from Gulshan link road to Rampura bridge and Malibgah rail-gate to Rampura Bridge was disrupted.
EWU registrar Ishfaq Ilahi Choudhury said on Sunday, “We told our students that there would be no tuition fee hike in the next three years.”
However, students rejected the assurance and continued their demonstration.
Students of BRAC University staged demonstration by blocking road in front of the university at Mohakhali and Gulshan-1 intersection and halted the traffic from Gulshan 1 to Mohakhali.
Students of American International University of Bangladesh and South East University blocked Kakoli intersection of Banani.
Due to the blockade, road communication from Mohakhali to Biswa Road was seriously hampered.
Holding banners and placards in hands, students were seen peacefully chanting and writing slogans on the streets such as “No VAT on Education” and “Education is not a commodity.”
Students of Stamford University, University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB), United International University (UIU), State University of Bangladesh and Asia Pacific University staged protests in Dhanmondi’s Satmasjid road.
This resulted in huge traffic jam on the busy Satmasjid road. Daffodil International University students laid siege to Dhanmondi 27 intersection, hating traffic movement on the busy Mirpur road.
Around 1000 students of Dhaka International University and World University marched from Green road to Panthapath and blocked Panthapath intersection, disrupting vehicular movement.
Students of North South University (NSU), International University of Bangladesh (IUB) blocked the road in front of Jamuna Future Park. This caused road communication to stop from Kuril Biswa Road to Norda bus stand.
Students BGMEA University of Fashion and Technology (BUFT), Asian University Bangladesh (AUB), Uttara University and Shanto-Mariam University of Creative Technology took to the streets in front of North Tower and House Building in Uttara.
Vehicular movement from Abdullahpur to Jasimuddin intersection was halted due to the protests.  Chase and counter chase occurred between police and students at Uttara in the capital.
Students of Asha University and European University of Bangladesh blocked Mirpur road at Shaymoli and so patients, school-going students, hajj pilgrims suffered immensely while travelling to their destinations due to the sever traffic congestions.
Due to the blockade, Badda, Rampura, Dhanmondi, Elephant road, Nilkhet experienced heavy traffic jam while Mogbazar, Gulshan, Kakoli, Banani, Saarc Circle, Shahbagh, Bangla Motor areas witnessed slow traffic movements.
Jahir Uddin, a passenger of a bus, said “After waiting around 30 minutes at Amtoli in Mohakhali, I got down from the bus and started walking to Banani.”
Protesting private university students vowed to continue their protest everyday until the 7.5 per cent VAT on tuition fees of the private universities is withdrawn.
The authorities declared North South University (NSU) and Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) closed till September 15 and September 26 respectively.
North South University (NSU) suspended its classes and exams till September 15 due to unavoidable circumstances, said a notice published on its website on Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) declared its vacation on the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha.
The university will remain closed from September 13 to September 26, 2015, according to a notice signed by IUB Deputy Registrar Mona Rahman.
The university will reopen on September 27, added the notice.
BRAC University suspended its classes and exams for Monday due to unavoidable circumstances.
Police opened fire on an anti-VAT demonstration of East West University students in Rampura last Wednesday, when at least 15 people were injured, many of whom were shot.
The next day, students of several universities, including East West University, North South University, BRAC University, Independent University of Bangladesh, State University of University, United International University (UIU), Stamford and Daffodil International University, began their demonstrations by blocking various key points of the capital.
Around four lakh students are currently studying at 83 private universities in the country.
The government in the 2015-16 fiscal’s budget approved the VAT on tuition fees for higher education in all private universities, and medical and engineering colleges.
On July 4, the National Board of Revenue (NBR) issued a notification, imposing VAT on the tuition fees of private universities and medical colleges.- News Desk


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