Brick kilns in Pirganj burn woods, use top soil

Published : 15 Dec 2021 10:48 PM

In Pirganj upazila of Rangpur district, more than half a hundred illegal brick kilns are using top soil of agricultural land. Wood is being burned instead of coal. Around the brick making season, huge piles of soil have been stockpiled in the lowlands. About 30 kilns have already been set on fire for burning bricks. Wood is being burnt in all of these kilns. 

 According to several sources, top soil of about 300 acres of land has been used every year. A 1992 circular issued by the Ministry of Lands stated that construction of brickfields on agricultural land is a punishable offense. But it was not followed in Pirganj.

It is learned that according to the government policy, there are only 5/6 auto-kilns in Pirganj upazila. In 15 unions, 48 fixed chimney kilns have been set up to burn bricks, illegally stockpiling timber as top soil and fuel for agricultural land. In order to prevent the illegal chimneys of fixed chimneys from being demolished by the Department of Environment or the concerned government authorities, several brick kiln owners have continued to make bricks by submitting a petition in the High Court. They have been doing brick business by showing the petition papers. On the other hand, Mazharul Haque in Kadirabad and Mabu Mia in Gopinathpur of the upazila have illegally installed new fixed chimneys this season.

It can be seen on the ground that huge stocks have been made by cutting the soil from the crop lands in those lowlands of the upazila.

Coal was nowhere to be seen in these kilns. Bricks are being burned only with the help of plants and bamboo. No one is obeying the law as the landlords are influential locals. Due to the burning of wood constantly, human health and the environment are under threat. However, the landowners said that if a lease is given for cultivating every bigha (50 percent) of land, one can get 10 to 12 thousand Tk per year. But if they sell the land for manking bricks, they can get 18 to 20 thousand Tk.

Mominur Rahman's illegal fixed chimney rented in Danishnagar village of Chaitrakol union of the upazila has about 20,000 tons of wood for burning in the brick kiln. About two lakh mounds of wood has been stockpiled for two brick kilns of Farooq Miah in Kumedpur Union. The same picture in all the brickfields of the upazila. People in the area adjacent to kilns said on condition of anonymity that the way the black wood is being washed is causing health damage and disturbing the environment. People demand the administration to stop burning wood in the brick kiln. Momin Mia's rice hut in Vendabari has also been stocked with about 40,000 mounds for burning wood bricks of small trees. The locals have complained that the bricks of 'MRB' brand were made in his brick field last year but this time the bricks are being made under the name 'VVB' to evade VAT.

Rabiul Islam, general secretary of the Upazila Bhata Malik Samiti, said that people from different areas have informed that wood is being burnt in the kilns this time. 

According to the Upazila Agriculture Office, 4 to 6 inches of soil contains more nutrients. Which is very helpful in crop production. Due to the indigestion of the farmers, the landlords are buying the top soil of the agricultural land to make bricks by motivating the land owners. Due to the use of top soil every year, the nutritional value and productivity of the land is declining day by day. Moreover, farmers are increasing the level of fertilizer in the land. If the top soil continues to be removed in this way, there is a danger that the lands will be abandoned in the future.

When contacted, Pirganj Upazila Nirbahi Officer Biroda Rani Roy said the owners of the kilns have already been informed not to use wood and chalk as fuel in the kilns. Otherwise legal action will be taken.