President of Sylhet Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the apex trade boy in the district, Abu Taher Md Shoeb, said major problems of urban life such as traffic congestion, waterlogging and drinking water crisis in the city were being accelerated day by day because of unplanned development activities that continued over the years.
He said that making a long-term master plan at least eyeing to address the issues in the next 80 years is a must for sustainable and inclusive development of the city.
Formation of Sylhet Development Authority like that in other big cities of the country was also a demand of time for proper implementation and keeping strict watch over all kinds of development activities across the city, he observed.
The SCCI president said that maximum business establishments, including braches of different banks and insurance companies, shopping malls and market places, had been developed randomly for decades centring only on Bandarbazar and Zindabazar areas in the city as the places were recognised as the midpoint of Sylhet.
Both commercial and residential infrastructures had been built in the centre of Sylhet city making it too congested, which certainly went against the idea of a modern and clean city, he said.
Business hubs should be decentralised across the city in a planned way alongside infrastructural development for a concerted advancement in the city, SCCI president said.
‘So, we need to concentrate on establishing business institutions, including hotels, motels and guest houses, in a planned way at all parts of the city rather than establishing these only at the city centre that would be helpful for building Sylhet as a liveable city for the next generation,’ he added.
Shoeb also appreciated the Power Development Board’s initiative to implement a pilot project involving installation of underground power transmission cable replacing the overhead power supply lines along with telephone wires in the city.
Apart from reducing the risk of electrocution, the initiative to set up underground power transmission cables across the city is a time-effective step for clean and spacious streets, he commented.
Alongside the need for reclaiming the encroached canals and other water bodies to put an end to the waterlogging in the metropolitan area, taking a strict stance against the illegal use of polythene-made shopping bags is also needed.
‘The single-use polythene bags, which are discarded by users, are clogging the drainage system in the urban areas,’ Shoeb observed.
Referring to the prime minister Sheikh Hasina declaration on November 30, 2019, while she was addressing a public rally here, that Sylhet would be a city of tourism, Shoeb said that connectivity is one of the main requirements of a tourist city.
For that reason, taking steps to develop the roads and rail communications in the Sylhet region should be a top priority to the government and its local bodies, he pointed out.
‘Installation of broad-gauge rail lines replacing the existing meter-gauge lines and adding sufficient number of fresh coaches to the intercity express trains that operated on the Sylhet-Dhaka and Sylhet-Chattogram routes is badly needed to attract tourists in the region,’ he claimed.
Shoeb alleged that development of industrial units is being disrupted in Sylhet city because of worse condition of the road and rail communications between the port city Chattogram and Sylhet.
To overcome this standstill situation in the industrial activities in Sylhet, immediate step is needed to improve the span of national highways between Habiganj and Kumilla for establish a better road communication between Sylhet and Chattogram, he said.
He also claimed that the national flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines should launch a domestic flight on Sylhet-Chattagram-Sylhet route as an effort to strengthen the country’s air communication network.
Mentioning a huge number of people of India’s seven neighbouring states- Arunachal, Meghalaya, , Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura- which states are widely known as seven sisters, are living at different countries of Middle East, Europe and America, Shoeb said that Bangladesh would be financially benefited if the air and road connectivity network can be strengthened with the states.
The Biman would be able to do more income through launching connecting flights with its existing flights which have been operating from Sylhet Osmani International Airport to different destinations including London and New York, he recommended.
‘Because, travelling through Sylhet airport instead of Kolkata or Delhi for different destinations around the world for the people of the seven sisters states is more easy and time effective,’ Shoeb claimed.
After all, moving ahead with a long-term master plan is inevitable for the sustainable development of Sylhet city.
Moveover, formation of Sylhet Development Authority is necessary to implement properly the development projects, to monitor regularly over the activities in the city and to ensure transparency and accountability in the overall activities.
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