Farmers fear that they will face great losses if the situation persists
A Meghna-Dhonagoda irrigation project dyke—a reservoir of water to irrigate rice fields, in Matlab South upazila of Chandpur—has collapsed, flooding nearby rice fields.
Since the collapse of the embankment near Paschim Baishpur union mosque, on Monday afternoon, water has been rapidly pouring into rice fields.
Due to this, many farmers fear that they will incur immense losses, and they are dreading that if the situation persists, around three acres of farmland might become submerged in water.
Locals said a large portion of the U1 irrigation dyke—on the east side of the dyke’s 6th
turnout—collapsed. There embankment began leaking a few days ago, when the canal was full of water.
The locals also alleged that they had not seen any officials from the Bangladesh Water Development Board (BWDB) take action to repair the leak, which is why the dyke collapsed. They claimed they are in danger of losing their properties and houses— including their farmland—due to the collapse.
As this is the season where the fields will be filled with ripe rice paddies, they will be harmed by this rush of water inflow. However, the upper paddy fields will need water in 10-15days, so if the water reserve dam is not repaired the farmers will face immense losses.
An affected farmer, Khokon Mal, 30, from Paschim Baishpur, said: “About 60% of ripe rice paddies were damaged. When I called the lineman Zahirul Islam of the dyke for that area, he did not appear.”
Another farmer of the area, Nazrul Islam alias Babu, said there was good yield this season, from two of his paddy fields. However, most of the paddies were destroyed when the dyke burst.
Farmer Tofazzel Hossain, 55, said: “There is excessive water in the dyke, which the rice fields do not need; therefore the dyke broke due to the pressure.”
The Ichhamati Water Management Association—a committee formed by six water management groups—General Secretary and Senior Awami League Vice-President of West Fatehpur Union unit, Khwaja Ahmed, said: “I arranged the shutdown of the irrigation pump machine after the dam broke. When BWDB Executive Engineer Zakir Hossain and Deputy Assistant Engineer (SO) Salauddin Ahmed were called several times, they did not answer.”
Deputy Assistant Engineer of the Management and Maintenance department in the Meghna-Dhonagoda project, Jamal Hossain, told Dhaka Tribune that this matter was not under his authority. This area is under the authority of our Deputy Assistant Engineer Salauddin.
He said: “All of us arrived at the spot after getting the news. Water is still entering along the broken portion of the dyke — a crack around seven-to-eight kilometres-long. We are working on it, and hope that the process of repairing the dyke will be completed in a week.
He further said: “There is no farmland in this area, mostly houses. There is no more crop land, so there was not much harm done.
“Within two days, we hope to remove the excess water from farmland. If that does not work, then we will take other measures. However, this will bring no harm to rice paddies,” he claimed.
Matlab North Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Sharmin Akhter told Dhaka Tribune: “I arrived at the spot immediately after hearing the news. The repair work will commence at night, therefore, I will be here until the work begins.”
She said: “Keeping in mind about the possible damage to crops, we are making all out efforts for the repairs.”