Boro cultivation on 4,000 bighas of land in six villages of Nasirnagar upazila has been facing a serious setback this year due to insufficient flow of water in the dried up Chikondiya river.
In such a situation, at least 20 irrigation pumps in those villages have become inoperative and farmers could not irrigate their fields during the ongoing Boro season.
As a result, fear of food shortage has been looming upon the 40,000 inhabitants of the six villages.
Upazila Sub-Assistant Agriculture Officer Habib Hasan said the 2.5 kilometre-long river, a branch of the Meghna river, has been silted due to the ongoing unplanned dredging in the Meghna in Kishoreganj.
Although Chikondiya river has always maintained a normal water flow in the previous dry seasons, this year it is already dried up, he said, adding that, as a result, Boro farmers in Sonatola, Kadamtoli, Maijkhola, Jamarbali, Simerkandi and Laluartok villages under Goalnagar union have been facing serious crisis of irrigational water.
Farmer Abdun Noor of Sonatola village said, “Due to the acute crisis of irrigational water many farmers in the area couldn't go for Boro cultivation this year, though the situation was not that worse last year.”
Brick kiln owner Shahjahan Mia of the village said as his brickfield is on the bank of Chikondiya and it doesn't have any road communication facilities, he used to carry his produce by boats earlier.
But this year, due to the navigation crisis he has stopped the production and incurring a huge loss as well, he said, adding that the situation has thrown over 100 labourers of the brickfield towards unemployment.
Goalnagar Union Parishad (UP) Chairman Azharul Haque Chowdhury, who appealed to the Water Development Board (WDB) to take steps to make the river free-flowing once again, said if the dredging of the river is not conducted immediately, farmers will have to face serious problems.
They have prepared a list of all the dried up rivers and canals in the district, Brahmanbaria WDB Executive Engineer Mohammad Shahinuzzaman said, adding that steps will be taken to restore the water flows through dredging.