Brick kilns are springing up in Faridpur in a large number posing a serious threat to croplands in the region.The brickfields are operating causing both environmental havoc and decline in quantity of cultivable land.Defying all the rules and regulations of the administration, owners of the brick kilns are running their business illegally.
The existing rule prohibits setting up a brick kiln within three kilometre radius of the government reserved and residential areas, schools, colleges, and crop fields. But there is seen no reflection of the rule in reality.Sources at the Department of Environment (DoE), Faridpur, said there are 333 brick kilns in five districts of greater Faridpur which are being run legally. Among them, 258 are zigzag brick kilns while the number of chimney brick kilns is 72.Sayef Ullah Talukder, deputy director of DoE, Faridpur, said there are 107 authorised brick kilns in Faridpur, 38 in Gopalganj, 52 in Shariatpur, 68 in Madaripur and 67 in Rajbari. Among them, the number of environment friendly brick kilns is 296.“If we get any allegations about illegal brick fields, we conduct drive against them,” added the official.Replying to a question on decreasing of crop lands for the large number of brick fields, he added,“Normally, we give permission for setting up a brick kiln in case of one-cropping land, not two or more cropping land.”The number of brick kilns in nine upazilas of Faridpur is more than 100.Brick kilns are increasing in number day by day, causing decline in quantity of arable land.In the past three years, 25 new brick kilns have been set up, which are almost on crop lands and adjacent to the residential areas.Consequently, environment is being polluted and local people are being affected with different diseases.Abul Hasan, a college student of C and D Ghat area, said there is a brick kiln near his house (within 100 yards).He alleged that owner of the brick kiln extended the area of the kiln every year by buying the nearby crop lands.Sultana Begum, a housewife, said it has become very much difficult to survive in the area for the excessive pollution from coal burnt in the brick kiln.Children in the area have also been suffering from various respiratory problems.She also demanded that the local administration relocate the brick kilns from the densely populated areas.The local administration conducted several drives and fined the owners of brick kilns. But with the passage of time, their activities had become normal.Sujan Mazumder, additional director of the Department of Agriculture Extension, Faridpur, said for excessive heat from the brickfields, cultivation is being affected in nearby crop fields.He also demanded framing a stringent law for setting up brick kilns.Nasir Uddin Khan Dulal, president of Faridpur District Brick Kiln Owners Association, said, “The brick kilns which are under our association are environment friendly because they were set up following the environment law.”He also demanded taking steps against the illegal brick kilns in the district.Sardar Sarfat Ali, deputy commissioner of Faridpur, said they conduct drives against the illegal brick kilns when they are informed about them.“We are always ready to protect our crop lands in the district,” added the DC. –UNB, Faridpur