Over a century-old Sylhet municipality was upgraded to a city corporation in 2002, consisting 26.50 sq km area.In 2014, a proposal to expand the country's smallest city corporation to 160.62 sq km was forwarded to the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives by the city corporation as per the masterplan for the city.
And after six years, the city is finally being expanded to around 58 sq km in total and Sylhet District Administration circulated a public notice in this regard on Sunday.
In the notice, signed by the deputy commissioner of Sylhet, the administration listed parts of four unions of Sylhet Sadar upazila and three unions of Dakshin Surma upazila to be included to the city corporation area.
In the circular, locals of these areas are asked to file their written objections or suggestions to the deputy commissioner by September 8.
Meer Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman, deputy director of the local government in Sylhet, said, "After the given period, we'll arrange public hearings..."
After Sylhet municipality was upgraded to a city corporation, a masterplan for the divisional town was gazetted in 2010.
But the current expansion plan does not correspond with it and the proposal given to the ministry, Sylhet City Mayor Ariful Haque Chowdhury told this correspondent yesterday.
He said, "It should be expanded as per the gazetted masterplan, otherwise it would not be wise. It took so long for this... and may not be easier to expand the city again in recent decades. So, the plan has to be perfect."
Sylhet Metropolitan Police extended its area to the maximum and they are covering it well, the mayor added.
"The city should be extended as per the masterplan, and only then the city might flourish. Many advanced community services such as playgrounds, open spaces, waterbodies and various development works are not possible to ensure in a smaller city," he said.
Faruque Mahmud Chowdhury, president of Sushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Sujan), Sylhet chapter, said, "We strongly advise that the expansion must be done as per the city's masterplan, otherwise, we will have an unplanned city and suburbs like we do now."
The deputy commissioner could not be contacted, despite repeated attempts.
Asked, the deputy director of the local government said they are open to suggestions and will hold public hearings in this regard.