Fertile soil of the cropland in Gurudaspur of Natore is being used in brick kilns for making bricks. As a result, hundreds of bighas of crops are being destroyed. At the same time, the cultivable land is losing its fertility.
Crop production has started declining. This condition has been caused due to cutting off the top layer of soil (topsoil).
Tempting the farmers, the brick kiln owners are cutting the soil of these croplands without any consideration with excavator machines. Even then the local administration is playing a silent role.
After visiting different places of upazila, including Mashinda, Khubjipur, Biaghat, Nazirpur, Dharabarisha and Chapila of Gurudaspar it could be observed that the landowners were selling the soil to the brick kiln owners without paying any heed to the impact of it to the environment. Although the fertility of the land has started declining, the local agriculture office hardly warned the farmers about the matter.
Visiting several areas of the upazila including Mashind, Khubjipur Onajirpur on Friday, it was seen that M/S Haji Quader Bricks of Alhaj Abdul Quader Pramanik of the upazila, M/S Hakim Bricks of Abdul Hakim, Mamun Bricks of Abdul Al Mamun, Farid Mollah's M/S Mollah Super Bricks, Abdur Rahim Mollah's Mollah Bricks and Nazirpur's (Chandrapur) Md Rana’s Rana Bricks are openly buying soil in many brickfields. As a result, not only croplands are being destroyed but also roads, environment and animals are being destroyed.
In this regard, the owner of a brick field, Al Mamun, admitted that the soil of the cropland had been cut off and said, “Many traders like me are doing the same in Gurudaspar. Tell them to stop first.”
However, they could not show any valid documents of the brick kiln.
On condition of anonymity, a number of conscious people in the Mashinda area of Gurudaspur said that selling the soil of the surface of the cropland to brick kilns is a huge loss to the farmers.
They said that there are about 7 to 8 brickfields in the croplands of Gurudaspur now. And to make bricks, the soil of the croplands of different areas of the upazila is being collected.
They further said that the brisk kiln owners are managing the local administration and cutting the surface soil of the cropland.
Jalal Uddin, a farmer in Mashinda area, said that he sold soil of his two bighas of cropland because he got a good sum of money. However, he said that he did not know whether the land could be harvested as before after this.
Zahurul Haque Sarkar, a lecturer at Gurudaspur Bilchalan Shaheed Samsuzzoha Government College, said, “The main fertility of the land lies in the surface of the soil. And if this soil (top soil) is cut, it takes 10-12 years to store its fertile energy. The top soil of croplands like Gurudaspur is being cut down all over the country. If it continues, in the next 10-12 years, agricultural lands may become uncultivated and food crisis may arise in the country.”
Natore District Agriculture Officer Mahmudul Farooq said many brick kilns have been built without following government rules, which we discourage. “Moreover, crop lands are being wasted due to various reasons. There is no opportunity to change the type of land. Officials at the upazila level have been asked to strictly monitor these matters,” he said.
Gurudaspur Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Md Tamal Hossain said that necessary steps would be taken after investigating the matter.