A section of local influential people continue to occupy land and erect permanent structures around a sluice gate at Bablatala Bazar in Kalapara upazila of Patuakhali, much to the worry of the farmers there. PHOTO: STAR
Encroachers have continued building structures around a sluice gate in Bablatala Bazar area under Kalapara upazila, much to the worry of a large number of farmers.
A group of local influential people, led allegedly by Md Rafique Haji, started the construction work about two weeks ago occupying the wing wall of a gate of the sluice that plays a vital role in controlling water, said farmers.
Enraged by the matter, farmer Abul Kashem of the area submitted a complaint to the executive engineer of local Water Development Board (WDB) last week.
According to the complaint, a group of workers, led by Rafique, recently started constructing a permanent structure by grabbing the wing wall of the sluice gate of the flood control dam in the area.
In 1980, WDB built the sluice gate for saving agricultural land from saline and tidal water.
Due to the gate, saline water cannot enter into more than 1000 acres of cultivable land in several villages including Baliatali, Borobaliatali and Betkata in the upazila. Besides, the gate helps locals remove on increase water levels for farming.
At least 12 permanent and semi-permanent structures were already built by the grabbers here, alleged Kashem.
If the authorities did not take immediate steps to stop construction of structures, the sluice gate would face a serious threat of collapse, he said.
Contacted, executive engineer of WDB Md Shafi Uddin said that a move was underway to save the sluice gate and its adjacent lands in the greater interest of local farmers.
Despite repeated calls, this correspondent could not reach accused Rafique for his comment as his mobile phone remained switched off.