600,000 farmers to be affected
Staff Correspondent: Cultivation of Irri and Boro has become uncertain in half of the country due to lack of sufficient water. The lack of water in the greater Sylhet, Rajshahi, Dinajpur, Rangpur Bogra and Kushtia, the cultivation of lakhs of boro land has become uncertain – where 600,000 beneficiary farmers are getting frustrated due to lasciviousness, abstinence, extreme indifference, various irregularities and corruption of authorities, lack of proper reforms of dams, draining before the start of Boro cultivation season. Most of the rivers have dried up.
Last Sunday, a miking was done in Sunamganj announcing that the irrigation water could not be provided in Boro cultivation this year, as a result, there was a wave of extreme anger among farmers in the border area.
It is reported that the local government department built an aesthetic sluicegate at the expense of Tk 1.5 crore to bring farmers under the Boro cultivation at Moula River in Banglabazar Up’s Haknagar of the upazila in 2004.
Since the gate was constructed, at least 8000 farmers of Bashtala, Colony, Jumgaon, Pekapara, Moularpar, Alamkhali, Notun Bashtala, Chowdhury Para cultivated seasonal vegetables including Boro cultivation with river water.
Although the Haknagar Water Management Cooperative Society is in total care, it has long been alleged that farmers suffer extreme hardship and crisis every year due to the lasciviousness, mismanagement, and irregularities of the concerned people of the association.
There are 414 members under the association – as per the rules, each of them has to deposit Tk 20 per month in association funds. Even though there are rules to distribute debt among the beneficiaries from the members’ savings, the beneficiaries are not getting loans.
So far, the association has distributed about Tk 9 lakh loan money as their willing. In 2017, the lease for the water supply for the cultivation of land under sluicegate has been raised by Tk 2,97,500 – in the same way, the lease money of Tk 1.05 lakh was raised in 2018 but has not been deposited in the association’s funds till now.
The president of the association himself has made “low-quality cabs” under the two projects at a cost of Tk 8.27 lakh.
The local beneficiary farmers alleged that the president of the association, Abdul Ahad, had become influential and had become lasciviousness without any coordination.
“If they do not get water this year, they will be forced to legal action” said hundreds of farmers, including farmers from Bashtala village Burhan Uddin and Mojibur Rahman Master of Chowdhuripara village.
They said that since the inception of the association there has been no calculation. When asked for an account, the president of the association ‘became grimace’. Under his leadership, the association has formed a syndicate of looting money.
“For the last two years, we have been speaking the lasciviousness, abstinence, extreme indifference, corruption to the concerned people of the Association.”
But there was no cure. This year, farmers cannot accept that they will not get water. “If the Boro cannot cultivate due to lack of water, we have to suffer,” they added.
Abdul Ahad, president of Haknagar Water Management Cooperative Society, said all the money was deposited in the bank with the funds of the association. “I have informed the local LGED authorities long ago to solve the drain problem. They also visited the area. But if the problem is not resolved before the start of Boro season, water cannot provide to the farmer.”
Upazila Cooperative Officer Maitreya Acharya said no complaint was received regarding the mismanagement of the Haknagar association. “If necessary, actions will be taken.”
Sadirul Islam, a deputy assistant engineer of the LGED of Dowarabazar Upazila, said, “No demand has been sent to us about the drain reforms of Hakanagar Sluicegate.”
“If the demand was sent before the month of June, we could take the necessary steps. But there is nothing to do now,” he added.