Tears of Chalan Beel farmers | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 21, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:37 AM, October 21, 2020

Tears of Chalan Beel farmers

Crop fields in the beel areas of Pabna, Natore and Sirajganj still under floodwater

 Johurul Islam was in happy mood when he started harvesting paddy in April, but the early flooding of the year made the happy mood turn to darkness.

Like him, thousands of farmers in the Chalan Beel areas of Pabna, Natore and Sirajganj who depend on agriculture for their livelihood have been affected severely due to this year's prolonged floods. 

This time the marginal farmers in the water body areas are becoming poorer as they are yet to start cultivation.

The affected farmers said crop fields in the beel areas remain under rainwater from May to August every year. With water receding, they usually start cultivation from September but this year, they are yet to start cultivation as crop fields in Chalan Beel areas are still under floodwater.

Johurul, a marginal farmer of Beel-Biaspur in Natore's Gurudaspur upazila, said he cultivated IRRI dhan on two bighas of land at the beginning of the year but he could not harvest the paddy properly due to early flooding in Chalan Beel in April. His fields are still submerged in floodwater.

Johurul added that he could not cultivate paddy during the Aman season in June this year due to the second phase of flood. Now he is waiting for garlic or mustard cultivation before planting paddy during Boro season which will start from December but he is now in utter despair as the floodwater is receding very slowly in the croplands.

"Every year we grow three crops amidst the flood but this time we have missed two out of three crops due to prolonged floods," he added.

Another grower Md Shahdat Hossain of Bin-Sara village in Sirajganj's Tarash upazila said this year's devastating flood has brought unlimited sorrows for farmers in the Chalan Beel areas as the crop fields are still under floodwater here.

"This year I have cultivated (Ropa) Aman paddy on five bighas of land spending Tk  12000 to Tk 15000 but the floodwater damaged the field extensively," he added.

Like Johurul and Shahdat, most of the farmers in Chalana Beel, the largest part of crop cultivating region in northern districts, have been badly affected due to this year's prolonged floods, according to the officials of Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE).

Farmers of the flood-hit areas in northern region failed to get success in crop cultivation in the last Kharip-1 and Kharip-2 seasons this year due to longstanding waterlogging in the fields, said a Rajshahi divisional agriculture officer.

KM Rafikul Islam, sub-divisional engineer of Sirajganj Water Development Board (WDB), said the flood has come very early of April this year and it continued hitting four times in the last six months.

He added that the floodwater is receding very slowly in the areas. It will take another one month for water of Chalan Beel to recede.

Flood hit 13 northern districts out of 16 districts this year, he said, adding that of them, 10 districts in both Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions have been badly affected.

More than one lakh hectares of crop fields in 13 northern districts including eight districts of Rajshahi and five districts in Rangpur division have been submerged in floodwater this year, according to the agricultural departments of the two divisions.

Chalan Beel farmers have been affected badly by this year's prolonged floods, said Sudhendranath Roy, additional director of DAE in Rajshahi division.

They are taking preparation to support the flood-hit farmers, he said, adding that the affected growers may get compensation before the next crop season.

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