Illegal dams disrupt farming

Eight illegal dams, built for fish cultivation, have caused waterlogging in 500 acres of agricultural land in the Patuakhali Sadar upazila. As a result, Aman cultivation in the area has been disrupted.

A year ago, Al Amin Khan, Hanif Khan and Halim Khan, along with some other locals, blocked the one-kilometre-long canal which flows between West Hetalia and South Birajla villages of the Madarbunia Union, and began their fishing operation.

Local farmers have sought immediate intervention from the upazila administration to remove these illegal dams.

Abdul Khalek Akon, a local farmer, said  previously, water was being removed from the agricultural land of the area through the connecting canal. Now, due to the waterlogging, uncertainty has arisen over the Aman cultivation in the area.

“I made a written application to the Patuakhali Sadar UNO a month back, requesting to remove these dams. But so far, there has been no solution,” he added.

Md Farooq Biswas, another farmer from the village, said, “Due to the illegal fishing in the canal, our agricultural land gets submerged during the monsoons. If the water doesn’t recede, we will not be able to cultivate Aman in the land.”

Another farmer, Abdul Mannan Biswas, said action should be taken against those who cultivate fish by making dams in a flowing canal.

A local housewife in the area noted that the canal water had become polluted due to the illegal fishing activities, which had stopped the flow of water. Now, the water can no longer be used for domestic purposes.

While visiting the area recently, this correspondent noticed that an area of the canal was blocked and made into a pond for fish cultivation. In another spot, some people have filled a part of the canal and built a cattle shed.

Al Amin Khan, one of the fish farmers, said, “We are cultivating fish in a part of the canal. Many others are doing the same. If they relinquish their possession over it, we will also unblock the canal.”

Other fish farmers, who are illegally using the canal, declined to comment.

Patuakhali Sadar Upazila Agricultural Extension Officer Mostafizur Rahman said, “I raised this matter in the monthly upazila development and coordination meeting last month.”

“The UNO asked me to investigate the matter and inform him about it. I have already visited the area and found the allegations to be true,” he added.

He said measures will be taken in this regard, subject to his discussions with the upazila nirbahi officer.

Contacted, Patuakhali Sadar UNO Saifur Rahman said blocking a flowing canal is a crime. All illegal dams on the canal will be removed soon, he assured.

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