Sunday's storm with heavy hail and rain might substantially affect harvest of Boro rice on 29,000 hectares of land in Sunamganj, while the rain already damaged different parts of at least 30 embankments around haors in the region.
Among the damaged embankments, Madaria levee built along Chhayar haor in Muktarpur area of Shalla upazila subsided at various points following incessant rain, said locals.
Farmer Sohel Mia from the area said the embankment developed cracks and potholes and parts of it subsided soon after the heavy rain -- a proof of poor work by contractors of the embankment.
It could have been washed away if the rain did not stop so soon, he added.
The crops in the haor will be harvested in a few weeks and the authorities need to repair the levees in the area urgently so no further damage is incurred, said Rabindra Das, another farmer in the area.
Contacted, Abu Baker Siddique, executive engineer of Water Development Board (WDB) in Sunamganj, said as of yesterday afternoon, WDB has confirmed report that 30 out of a total 572 levees in Sunamganj have been damaged in the recent heavy rains.
The contractors might have failed to ensure proper compaction of earth in the affected levees and WDB will compel the contractors to take all necessary measures to repair the damaged sections of the levees at the soonest, he also said.
A 450-kilometre long stretch of surface on 572 embankments along 42 haors were reconstructed or repaired ahead of this harvest season under 572 Project Implementation Committees (PICs) at a cost of Tk 97.55 crore.
After detection of the damage on the levees, WDB officials were engaged to monitor and supervise the repair work of the fresh damage round the clock so the levees deliver the expected protection before the harvest of crops, the WDB official added.
Aside from paddy fields, the hailstorms also damaged various other crops including vegetable fields and flower buds on mango trees in Sunamganj. Speculating further hailstorm, many farmers were found reaping their paddy before harvest time.
Many such farmers, harvesting their crops early, are likely to incur losses due to poor yield.
Abdur Razzak, a farmer from Tanguar Haor area in Taherpur upazila, said he took a loan and leased two bighas of land to plant Boro rice. “Just one day's hailstorm ruined it all. How will I repay the loan now?” he said.
Farmer Dula Mia from the same village said the last hailstorm was the worst of its kind he has ever witnessed.
Deputy Director Bashir Ahmed Sarkar of Department of Agricultural Extension in Sunamganj said the hailstorm has affected crops on 28,900 hectares of land in haor areas where Boro has been cultivated on 2,24,000 hectares this season.