• Wednesday, Aug 17, 2022
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Farmers in trouble without water management facilities in Khulna

  • Published at 08:07 pm March 11th, 2021
Vast tracts of land remain underwater
Vast tracts of land remain underwater for the most part of the year in Baka village of Paikgachha upazila in Khulna Dhaka Tribune

It is high time the Kopotakkho River was dredged and brought back to life, says a worried local resident

Farmers of Baka village in Khulna’s Paikgachha upazila have been experiencing year-round instances of waterlogging on their croplands for a decade now.

As a result, although agriculture is the main source of livelihood for 80% of the population here, farmers have not been able to achieve more than two crop rotations a year since 2010, when the Kopotakkho River became completely filled up by sediments. Soon after, low-lying croplands became waterlogged for lack of alternative drainage facilities.

Rafiqul Islam, a local resident, said: “It is very difficult to cultivate Aman paddy due to the waterlogging problem. We have to wait too long. We prepare our land for Boro paddy around the same time when farmers elsewhere harvest their early rice variants.”

Farmer Sabed Ali Gazi said: “We can only cultivate Boro paddy once we have siphoned all the stagnant water out of our land, which takes a long time and a lot of money.”

Another local resident, Liakat Ali Moral said: “Earlier, farmers could cultivate Aman paddy on their one-bigha land at a cost of Tk500-600. Now it costs up to Tk2000-2,500 with all the expenses needed to pump water out of the land.” 

Nur Nahar Begum said her husband now drove auto-rickshaws at the upazila Sadar as they could not afford to pump water out of their land.

Julekha Begum said locals had been facing various problems since the Kopotakkho River completely dried up. “It is high time the Kopotakkho River was dredged and brought back to life.”

Abdul Majid Goldar, chairman of Raruli union council, said: “Ever since the Kopotakkho River completely dried up, rainwater began accumulating in the lowlands of Baka village. As a result, crop production has become problematic in this polder. Earlier, water used to drain out into the Kopotakkho River but now it remains stagnant in the beel.”

Tauhidul Islam, executive engineer of the Water Development Board's Jessore office, said a tender would soon be issued for the excavation a 30-kilometre area of the Kopotakkho River, which flows through the Tala, Paikgachha and Koyra upazilas. 

“The project, worth Tk100 crore, will be completed within a year and a half. Once this project is completed, the people of Tala, Paikgachha and Koyra will be able to enjoy its benefits by 2023-24,” he added.