The Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) has allegedly paid off Tk 45 lakh without any excavation work done on a 4.5-kilometre canal in Charali Beel area of Aditmari upazila.
Charali Beel Krishak Samiti under Small-scale Water Resources Development (SWRD) project of LGED has supposedly conducted the excavation work of the canal.
After the work, the canal is supposed to be 18 feet in width, including a total of 8 feet banks on both sides, and 2 metres in depth.
But during a visit, its width was found to be only 10 to 12 feet including the banks and the depth to be a maximum of 1.5 metres at the deepest point.
Mamun Hossain, a farmer from Khorarpul area, alleged that although an excavator was lying near the canal for three days, it was never used for the canal's excavation work. "We only saw the machine, but did not see any work done with the machine."
Left unexcavated for long, accumulated silt has reduced the water retention capacity of the canal and water overflowing from it has been damaging crops in the area, said Masud Rana, a farmer from the same area.
The canal was not excavated properly and it still looks the same as before, said farmer Razzak Hossain from Sakoya area.
The canal is of no use now as not even 20 percent of the funding was used for the excavation works of the canal, alleged Ansar Ali, another farmer from the same area.
Asked, Charali Beel Krishak Samiti President Rafiqul Islam declined to comment on the alleged irregularities, saying, "The LGED authorities know everything."
However, LGED Assistant Engineer Farhad Hossain, who oversees SWRD projects in Lalmonirhat, claimed, "The work was completed properly with the help of a member of the canal farmers' union concerned".
The payment for the work was made in July last year, but the parts where the canal was not excavated properly will be excavated later, he assured.
Refuting the allegation of irregularities in the canal's excavation work, Executive Engineer Ashraf Ali Khan at LGED in Lalmonirhat said he would looking into the allegation and take action, if necessary, once any irregularities are found in the work.