In the last 11 years, four projects worth a total of Tk1,500 crore have been undertaken to solve waterlogging in Sylhet city. In December last year, the government allocated Tk1,228 crore to solve waterlogging plus clean the water supply and infrastructure development in the Sylhet City Corporation area.
Despite numerous projects, the city dwellers are not getting rid of the frustration of waterlogging.
The recent rains have caused waterlogging and rainwater has entered houses in several areas of the city including the: Mirabazar, Shibganj, Kanishail,
Upshahar, Subidbazar, Jamtala, and Taltala areas. The roads were blocked too.
As the scourge of waterlogging is not solved, despite so many projects having been undertaken, questions have arisen over whether the projects were properly implemented and many have blamed the unplanned development of the city.
However, city corporation officials say the bottom of the Surma, which flows through the city, has been filled. Rainwater cannot pass through the river as it is not dredged, which results in waterlogging.
Apart from the Surma, 14 small and big creeks and canals flow through Sylhet city. Waterlogging occurs during the monsoon season mainly due to the illegal grabbing of creeks and canals by influential people.
In the last 11 years, four projects have been undertaken to rescue and beautify these 72 kilometres of creeks and canals. In 2009, Sylhet City Corporation undertook a project worth Tk11 crore to rescue the city's creeks. Then in 2013, another project worth Tk20 crore was taken up for the same purpose. Again in 2016, a project worth Tk 236.40 crore was taken up.
In the meantime, work on these three projects has been completed. A mega project worth Tk1,226 crore was approved last December.
Sylhet City Corporation chief executive officer Bidhayak Roy Chowdhury said, "Some low-lying areas of Sylhet city are flooded every year due to heavy rains and rising river water during the monsoon season. However, at present, the waterlogging situation in the entire city is better than in the past."
Now, he said, when there is more rain, there is waterlogging in some relatively low-lying areas. The water of Sylhet city flows into the Surma river through creeks and canals; however, now siltation has raised in this river so water cannot recede. Therefore, it is essential that the Surma be dredged.
Sylhet City Corporation is working to normalise the drainage system by clearing deep drainage systems plus various canals and creeks in each area. When these projects are completed, waterlogging will be reduced to a great extent, he added.
Sylhet city mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury also thinks the Surma needs to be dredged to alleviate waterlogging in Sylhet city.