Paddy on at least 800 acres of land and hundreds of fruit trees in three upazilas of Dinajpur and Rangpur have been badly damaged allegedly due to emission of toxic gas from four nearby brick kilns.
The four brickfields -- HSH Bricks and Two Star Bricks in Chirirbandar and Khansama upazila of Dinajpur respectively and SBC Bricks and ABC Bricks in Badarganj upazila of Rangpur – are situated along a vast tract of croplands and fruit orchards.
Around 400 acres of paddy land and hundreds of mango, litchi and jackfruit trees at Kumoria village in Chirirbandar upazila were damaged since two brick kilns, adjacent to the croplands, started emitting toxic gas on April 30.
The following morning, villagers found their paddies badly burnt due to emission of toxic gas from the adjacent brickfields.
“Within the afternoon, we found most of our paddy plants dead,” farmer Rafiqul Islam of the village said.
Besides, different kinds of fruits like mango, jackfruit and litchis also started dropping from the trees due to impact of the toxic gas, villagers alleged.
“We demand proper compensation for the damage,” one of the affected farmers Altaf Hossain said.
Bhabki Union Parishad (UP) Chairman Shafiqul Islam said they already started assessing the damaged and so far found that the affected area is around 200 acres.
Contacted, Mannan Sarkar and Saifur Rahman, owner of the two brickfields respectively, said it was an unexpected incident and they are ready to compensate to the affected farmers.
Away in Rangpur, a number of people at Sheikherhat village and its surrounding areas in Badarganj upazila said that first noticed an unusual change of colours of their paddy fields last Thursday.
Half grown grains of most of the paddy lands were badly damaged badly due to emission of toxic gas from the two nearby brick kilns.
Farmer Yakub Ali of Adarshapara village said he cultivated paddy on one bigha of land this year, but all his paddy plants were damaged due to emission of toxic gas from the brickfields.
Despite repeated attempts, this correspondent could not reach the brickfield owners for their comments.
Badarganj Upazila Agriculture Officer Golam Mostafa said he is yet to receive any complaints from the affected farmers in this regard.