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Sylhet Dev Authority in the offing

Published : 15 Feb 2022 09:53 PM | Updated : 16 Feb 2022 04:41 PM

A development authority has been proposed in a bid to bring about a well-planned development in Sylhet with a view to establishing a modern and attractive tourist city in Sylhet city and the adjoining areas.

The Housing and Public Works Ministry had taken the initiative to establish the Sylhet Unnayan Kartripakkhya (Sylhet Development Authority) in 2020 almost 20 years after the formation of Sylhet City Corporation (SCC). 

The draft of ‘The Sylhet Development Authority Act, 2020’ had been prepared to materialise the move. The 15-page draft was also uploaded on the website of the ministry in 2021 seeking public opinion. 

However, formation of the proposed Sylhet Development Authority (SDA) has been delayed as the successive elected mayors and some others were allegedly not interested in such a move fearing loss of their absolute dominance over the activities of the city corporation. 

SCC Mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury, however, denied the allegation. He said that the government took the step to form the SDA for proper implementation of development programmes. He appreciates the government’s move in the interest of development in Sylhet, he added. 

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, also MP from Sylhet-1 constituency which covers the city area, at a meeting in Sylhet recently assured that the development authority would be formed immediately in Sylhet. Expansion work of Sylhet metropolitan area has already started and there is significant progress. It will be possible to see a planned development once Sylhet Development Authority is established. Enactment of law is needed to create the SDA, he added. 

Luthfun Nahar, a deputy secretary (admin) of Housing and Public Works Ministry, said that they had prepared the draft to establish Sylhet Development Authority for converting Sylhet metropolitan into a modern and attractive city, ensuring planned development. The ‘Sylhet Development Authority Act’ will be enacted as soon as possible after completion of necessary processes, she added.  

Eight sections were incorporated into the draft law. It also has many sub-sections and 55 articles. 

According to the draft law, the Sylhet Development Authority (SDA) will be formed with a 17-member body, including chairman.

Other members are-- three government nominated members, deputy commissioner (DC) of Sylhet, Police Super, SCC’s chief executive officer, deputy secretary-rank representatives from Land Ministry and Environment, Forest and Climate Change Ministry, representative from Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry, representative from urban planning department of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST), executive engineer of Sylhet Public Works Department, representative from Sylhet Architecture Department, and representative from Sylhet Chamber and Commerce. Three other government nominated members, including a woman, will also be included in the SDA. Three members will come from the SDA area. 

Sylhet is a city in eastern Bangladesh which is situated on the bank of Surma River. In 1995, the government had declared Sylhet as the sixth divisional headquarters of the country. 

The Sylhet Municipality was formed in 1867 and the over century-old Sylhet municipality was upgraded to city corporation on April 9 in 2001. However, no separate authority has been formed for the planned development of the city. 

Some residents of Sylhet said that formation of SDA is important to avoid unplanned urbanization in Sylhet metropolitan area. The urban planners and environmentalists said that the proposed Sylhet Development Authority should function through giving proper importance on the environmental issues. 

Abdul Hye Al-Hadi, a researcher from Sylhet, said that the number of people in Sylhet city is increasing day by day, while unplanned urbanization is also on the rise. Dense settlements have developed in many parts of the city without any planning. The Sylhet Development Authority is needed for controlling such acts. 

Talking to the Bangladesh Post on Tuesday (February 15), Abdul Hye Al-Hadi, also chief of the Movement to Save Saree River (Sari Nodi Bachao Andolan), said that sustainable and planned development is not possible without involving the environment and public health issues. If natural issues, including environment and water management, are not included in the development plan now, that development will bring negative impacts. “We hope the SDA will be formed considering the matter,” he added. 

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