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Brick kiln eats up farmland in Gopalganj

  • Published at 03:55 pm August 23rd, 2020
Brick kiln eats up farmland in Gopalganj
Illegal Masum Bricks field at Majra village in Kashiani upazila, Gopalganj polluting environment Dhaka Tribune

Tapu Shikdar, one of owners of the farmland, filed a case with Kashiani police station in this regard

Defying the government ban on setting up of brick kilns near croplands, human habitation and forests, a brick kiln has been set up near farmlands and human habitation at Kashiani upazila of Gopalganj district, threatening the environment.

On a recent visit, this correspondent found that Abdur Rahman Molla, an influential person of Majra village of the upazila, started a business by setting up Masum Brick on two acres of farmland three years ago by taking lease from some farmers.

Later, he grabbed more than 20 acres of farmland of 15 farmers illegally beside his brick kiln.

Tapu Shikdar, one of owners of the farmland, filed a case with Kashiani police station in this regard.

He said recently gang members of Abdur Rahman attacked their houses and looted valuables three times, when they went to work on their farmlands.

On information, Assistant Commissioner (Land) Atiqul Islam of Kashiani upazila went to the spot and brought the situation under control.

Atiqul Islam said: “Masum Brick owner has been asked to submit papers of the brick field. If he fails to show legal documents, he cannot run the business.”

Tapu Shikder said: “Masum Brick has been set up on farmland and beside human habitation. I do not understand how the DoE and Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) gave permission to build the kiln in that area.”

“With the hope of getting expected production of crops from land, I applied fertilizer and pesticide, but the result is not as expected as the land is losing fertility due to the brick kiln,” said a farmer of the village.

 “I used to harvest three crops per year, but now I get one crop in a year,” he also said.

Abdur Rahman, owner of Masum Brick, said he started building the brick kiln after getting permission from the DoE.

He also said his men attacked the men of Tapu as he insulted him. He also denied the allegation of looting valuables.

“I have no intention to grab anyone’s land. The bricks have been only stored on the land beside the brick kiln,” he added. 

Upazila Nirbahi Officer Rathindra Rath Roy said he will take necessary steps after talking to the owner of the brick kiln.

The UP chairman has also been said to solve the problem, he added. 

Kashiani Upazila Awami League Secretary and Sajail UP Chairman Kazi Jahangir Hossain said the upazila administration and police are trying to solve the problem.

Azizur Rahman, officer-in-charge of Kashiani Police Station, said they would take necessary steps after the investigation into the matter.  

According to a report, the Parliament passed the Brick Manufacturing and Brick Kiln Establishment (Control) (Amendment) Bill, 2019, aiming to make the existing law on brick manufacturing a more time-befitting one.

Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin moved the bill in the House and it was passed by voice vote in 2019.

The proposed law is a modified version of the Brick Manufacturing and Brick Kiln Establishment (Control) Act 2013 which came into effect in July 2014, clearly prohibiting conventional technologies in the brick-making industry.

As per the bill, the establishment of brick fields in residential, protected, commercial and agricultural areas, and also in forests, sanctuaries, wetlands and Ecologically Critical Areas (ECAs) is prohibited.

It said the establishment of brick kilns in the prohibited areas will be treated as a criminal offence, with varying degrees of punishment for offenders to be determined by the nature of the areas involved.