Sylhet City Corporation mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury claimed that preparing a realistic and implementable long-term master plan would be completed within first quarter of the New Year to ensure better services for city dwellers.
Mentioning the initiative which is being materialised by the eminent urban planner and former adviser to the caretaker government professor Jamilur Reza Chowdhury, Arif said that the initiative has reached the final stage.
The matter was discussed in phases with experts and eminent civil architects of the country which included senior professors of the civil and environmental engineering department of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, he said.
‘Work of formulating the draft master plan for the city is now ongoing,’ the SCC mayor said adding that the draft plan would be sent for approval within this February as they did not have time to waste.
In the proposed master plan, priority has been given to the strategies to ensure pure drinking water supply, solve waterlogging problem, put in place better waste management system and to improve the citizen services, he said.
Arif told New Age that the executive committee of the national economic council recently approved a project of Tk 12,228 crore to resolve the problem of waterlogging and ensure sufficient supply of pure drinking water in the city.
He mentioned that work to implement the project had already been started and a revised proposal of the project has also been sent to the higher authority concerned.
‘We are expecting that the approved fund would be disbursed within the current fiscal year,’ Arif said.
In addition to the ongoing project, a new proposal to install a water treatment plant to supply drinking water to the city from Goain River has been taken to cope with the increased demand of water in the fast growing Sylhet city, he said, adding that the scheme would be implemented at an estimated cost of Tk 800 crore.
He said that the installation of a Clinical Waste Management Plant had been completed recently at Lalmatia Waste Dumping Ground under Dakshin Surma in the city, the SCC mayor said that a plan has also been taken to modernise the household wastes management involving an estimated budget of Tk 45.45 crore.
The problem of water pollution and damages to the fisheries and cropland occur because of garbage dumping on the open ground of Lalmatia and this would be resolved after completion of the proposed plan.
Another project proposal of launching the sewerage system in the city has already been taken in hand to be implemented in the upcoming fiscal year with an estimated budget of Tk 49 crore, Arif told New Age, adding that the petition for funding in the proposed project has also been sent to different development partners of the government.
Faced with the question whether the process of constituting a Development Authority in Sylhet is being delayed as the successive elected mayors were not interested in such a move fearing loss of their absolute dominance over the activities of the city corporation, Arif claimed that this perception was completely wrong.
He explained his position over the matter saying that he never opposed any effort in forming the Sylhet Development Authority.
The SCC mayor also mentioned that foreign minister AK Abdul Momen, also member of parliament for Sylhet 1 constituency which covers the city area, told in a meeting held on the law and order situation in the district in November last year that the government took step to form the SDA for proper implementation of development programmes.
The minister in the programme also has assured that the development authority would be formed immediately in Sylhet, Arif added.
In fact, he has nothing to do over matter since it is under the jurisdiction of the local government division of the local government affairs ministry, he claimed.
Arif, however, stated that there is a lot of instances of obstruction in implementing different development programmes in major cities of the country because of feud between two development organisations over establishing their own dominance.
‘So, my conception is clear in this regard that a guideline should have to be set up, so that implementation of development projects would not be delayed following any tug of war between the city corporation and the development authority,’ Arif argued.