Boro cultivation on 750 acres of land in ‘Beel Kochua’ located at Bakra in Jhikorgacha upazila has become uncertain due to waterlogging caused by the construction of illegal fish enclosures by some influential people.
Farmers said they went to the local administration and the public representative with complaints on a number of occasions but all their efforts have gone in vain.
They said they lodged complaints with the government office concerned several times demanding the removal of water by digging up a canal beside the illegal fish enclosures.
‘Beel Kochua’ is one of the largest water bodies in Bakra, Jashore. The livelihood of the residents of 10 villages in Hajirbagh, Bakra and Shonkorpur unions surrounding the beel depends on fishing from the waterbody.
Locals said ‘Beel Kochua’ has been waterlogged for a long time. It had become arable as its water was diverted to the Kopotakkho and Betraboti rivers after the construction of a culvert on Patulia Kajir Haat road in Kalaroa upazila and a connecting canal with the Betraboti River, they said.
The area was fully utilised for rice cultivation during the Boro season, if not for the Aman crop.
Even though roads were built on several parts of the waterbody, expensive culverts were constructed so that the water could flow to the connecting canals.
Local farmers alleged that an influential quarter captured the Khas land by constructing unplanned enclosures over the last 6-7 years. But, no arrangement was made for water to roll into the connecting canals when the enclosures were set up, even after being reminded by the farmers.
Now the land has become uncultivable due to the unplanned construction of enclosures in ‘Beel Kochua’ as it has changed the topography quite drastically within a few years.
According to several farmers in Bistopur, Khatbaria, Horidrapota and Bakra villages, boro cultivation is impossible on 750 acres of land due to waterlogging.
Last year, amid pressure from the farmers, the influential owners of the enclosures promised to dig a canal so that the water could flow out of the Betraboti connecting canal. The owners did not do anything even after the deadline expired.
Farmers in Khatbaria, Bistopur and Horidrapota villages are now facing huge losses from waterlogging in the ‘Beel Kochua’.
Hundreds of farmers from villages surrounding the ‘Beel Kochua’ notified the local Member of Parliament about the matter during an anti-terrorism meeting at Bakra on January 19.
The farmers told the UNB correspondent that nothing is happening even after assurances made by the Member of Parliament.
Meanwhile, the Jhikorgacha upazila nirbahi officer sent his representatives — IC of Bakra Investigation Centre Inspector Sheikh Shahinur Kabir, Hajirbag union parishad chairman Ataur Rahman Mintu and Bakra union parishad chairman Nichar Ali — urging the owners of the enclosures to pump out the water.
However, the farmers are not happy with the move as they demanded the construction of a connecting canal along the canal of the Betraboti beel.