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Water logging, traffic jam in Sylhet city a common feature

51Water-logging and severe traffic jam during the monsoon are common scenario of Sylhet  city. Most of the city roads become waterlogged when it rains hard. Even moderate shower causes serious problems and creates water-logging in the city.

City residents, environmentalists, city planners and experts blame policymakers for this situation. They hold the Sylhet City Corporations responsible for the problem, as they  do not take effective initiatives to improve drainage system, recover the vanished canals and free the rivers from grabbers.  The city dwellers witnessed water-logging and huge traffic jam in the last couple of days with the advent of monsoon.

In the beginning of the season, many city roads were submerged in ankle-deep to knee-deep water for heavy rainfall, bringing traffic to a standstill. People pray for rain for relief from hot-wave. But the city residents have to face untold sufferings instead of enjoying cooler weather and heavy rain.The rainwater enters many houses in some areas in the city. Even after the rain stopped, the water took hours to drain. This proves that the drainage system does not function properly. In these days in a modern city such a situation is not expected, said some city dwellers.

Abu Taher, an environmental activists, said, if the drainage system is really well planned and well maintained, rain water should drain out within an hour or a little more.The situations in other major cities of the country are not much different. The government spent huge funds in the last years in the project launched for reducing water-logging, but there is no improvement in sight.

The experts and the city planners said that the city dwellers would face serious sufferings in July and August with heavy rainfall. This situation normally occurs due to unplanned urbanisation, insufficient drainage system, blockage of the drainages, filling up the canals and lakes and water bodies. Lack of long-time plan, corruption and lack of consciousness among inhabitants are also responsible for this situation, they added.

Prof Nazrul Haque Chy, an eminent Educationist held the SCC are responsible for the problems. He suggested for taking long-time plan, increasing skill of the manpower. He also suggested the intuitions to recover the vanished canals of the city and rivers from grabbers to reduce the water-logging, and to build a planned city.

Abdul Karim Kim of Bangladesh Paribesh Andolan (BAPA) Sylhet Unit President said that rainfall caused severe water-logging in absence of proper drainage system, lack of waste management and sewerage system and poor plan. The land grabbers in patronization of the political high-ups fill up the low-laying lands as well as canals and thereby obstruct the flow of waters, which is one of the causes of water logging. Another major cause for narrowing the depth of the canals is dumping of solid wastes, he said.SCC have failed to provide facilities for dumping of millions of tonnes of solid waste generated each day, he said, suggesting reclamation of all canals and low-laying areas from the grabbers to keep drainage system functional.

The canals of Sylhet used to be the connecting channels of the rivers. But most of these canals have vanished due to a variety of reasons– unplanned urbanisation, encroachment, lack of co-ordination between the government agencies and lack of maintenance to the system.