Flash floods frustrate efforts of Kishoreganj farmers

Published : 03 Apr 2022 09:26 PM

Haoranchal of Kishoreganj is known as one of the food reserves of the country. About 30 percent of the country's rice demand is met from Haoranchal. About 70 percent of the people in the region are farmers. The crop on which the family depends on is sinking due to the flood. 

The Department of Agriculture estimates that about 500 hectares of ‘Boro Paddy’ land in Kishoreganj haor has been submerged due to the hill slope coming down from the upper reaches.

Upstream water has been flowing into various haors since last Saturday afternoon. The chars along the rivers are sinking quickly. Farmers can do nothing but stand and shed tears. Raw-ripe boro paddy has been submerged in the char area. As these paddy are not nourished yet, it will not be of any use to the farmer.

Flood waters are entering Badla haor of Itna upazila, Ershadnagar, Alalerbon, Dhanpur, Betega and other haors of Elangjuri union and different haors of Karimganj upazila. The Department of Agriculture says water has not yet entered the main haors. Only the riverside chars have sunk. The people's representatives make announcements through mikes of the mosque to repair the broken crop protection dam.

Mafik Mia, a farmer from Chilni village in Itna upazila, said he had cultivated boro paddy on 40pc of the land in Bahirchar haor. The water has started flowing since Saturday afternoon. 

“I saw in the morning that the condition of the land was good. In this situation, even the paddy of the land had not ripen enough for me to cut it. This situation has just begun to mature,” he said.

Farmer Mannan Mia said, “I have cultivated four acres of land in Pangasia Haor with the help of other people's land. About 4 acres of land is on the way to be submerged due to untimely flood. If the water does not rise in the morning, I can use some in the land. If the water rises at night then I will lose everything.”

Some farmers said that they have cultivated other people's land for money. 

“It takes more money to keep the land of the main haor, we don't have that much money. So I cultivate these lands for less money. Even if it takes a little more work, the crop is good. I have grown crops in the land with labor sweat all the year round. Now it is sinking in front of our eyes. I couldn't do anything outdoors because of the pandemic. Agricultural land is our only resource. But that material is also sinking in the early floods,” he said. According to sources, 267 mm of rain fell in different parts of Meghalaya and Assam. That rain water is entering the haor. According to the Water Development Board, there is no possibility of rain in the next 24 hours. Even then, farmers are terrified of the amount of water that has entered. If it rains in the next 24 hours, there is a possibility of flooding in different haors. 

By noon on Sunday, crops in the lower reaches of the char had been submerged in the waters of the Dhanu River in Itna. If the water level continues to rise, there is a risk of further flooding. Farmers are trying to harvest the raw boro paddy that has sunk down the hillside. This is not possible due to high water flow. The Department of Agriculture has requested the farmers to cut down all the lands where boro paddy is 80 per cent ripe.

Kishoreanj Agricultural Extension Department Deputy Director Md Saiful Alam said that many boro crops in the char areas along the Itnar river have been submerged due to the hill slope. However, it is not clear at this time how much land has been damaged.  “Two of my officers are stationed at Itna Haor. Hopefully if there is no more rain the crop will not be damaged,” he said.

Kishoreganj Water Development Board Executive Engineer Md. Matiur Rahman said 73 crop protection dams in the haor have been repaired. However, as the land acquisition has not been completed, the project of 12 big crop protection dams about 60 km long has not been completed yet. Work on these is ongoing.