Water crisis affects Boro cultivation in Feni
UNB || BusinessInsider
Boro cultivation is being affected in Sonagazi upazila of Feni district due to lack of irrigation as most of the canals in the area have dried up and water lines in different irrigation projects remain inoperative.
Boro paddy has been cultivated on 1,800 hectares in Sonagazi upazila of the district in response to the Prime Minister's call to bring all arable land of the country under cultivation to increase food production, said farmers.
But now the dream of thousands of farmers has been shattered due to the water crisis.
At the beginning of the season, the farmers got water from the canals and planted paddy, but now the fields have dried up due to a lack of water.
If the field is not watered in a day or two, the crops cultivated will be destroyed, they said.
They said although they informed the Water Development Board to resolve the crisis they are yet to get any response.
On the assurance of the Department of Agricultural Extension, the farmers have spent a lot of money to plant Boro paddy saplings.
Farmers said there are more than 50 canals across nine unions and one municipality of the upazila.
Although there is fresh water in the Muhuri River, salt water in the Boro Feni and the Chhoto Feni Rivers, there is no water in the canals for mysterious reasons.
Over the last few years, the canals were renovated spending hundreds of crores of taka but there is no water in the canals, they said.
They said they did not get any remedy even after submitting a written application to the upazila nirbahi officer, upazila agriculture officer and the Water Development Board.
According to government estimates this year, the target of Boro cultivation in Sonagazi upazila was 1,300 hectares. But 1,800 hectares have been cultivated, exceeding the target.
Sirajul Islam, a farmer from Charganesh village in the municipality area, said, "If we do not get water, we should be shot dead in the field.”
Mizanur Rahman, a farmer of Londoni para of Char Chandia union, said his fellow farmers took loans from banks, and NGOs by keeping gold jewelry as a mortgage for Boro cultivation.
“I have made a written application to various government offices for water supply, but we have not got any remedy yet. The paddy fields have cracked due to lack of water,” he said.
Upazila Agriculture Officer Sajjad Hossain Majumder said, "If water is not supplied to the canals within the stipulated time, there will be severe damage to the paddy. This will cause huge financial losses to the farmers.”
“We are in regular touch with the officials of the Water Development Board. Farmers affected by the water crisis will lose interest in cultivating other crops, including Boro, in the future,” he said.
Sonagazi Upazila Parishad Chairman Zahir Uddin Mahmud Lipton said, "We have come to know about the water problem of the farmers. The Water Development Board authorities have assured us to supply water within a short time.”
Mohammad Rashed Shahriar, sub-divisional engineer of the Water Development Board, said necessary measures will be taken very soon.