12:00 AM, September 11, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:25 AM, September 11, 2018

Transplanted Aman seedlings at risk

Saghata farmers worried as water level in the Jamuna basin rises

A 40-metre stretch of an embankment-cum-road at Bhangamore village under Saghata upazila of Gaibandha was washed away by flood last year but it has not been repaired as yet, making cultivation of Aman crop uncertain. Photo: KM Rezaul Hoque

Farmers of Bhangamore area in Saghata upazila are worried over survival of transplanted Aman seedlings on about 500 acres of land if the water level in the Jamuna basin rises, as a large breach along the flood control embankment has not been repaired as yet.

The Jamuna river washed away a 40-metre stretch along the two-kilometre embankment-cum-road at Bhangamore and damaged transplanted Aman seedlings on vast tracts of land during the flood in August last year.

Local people appealed to the union parishad chairman and the upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) for repair of the breached portion but, despite their assurance, the work has not started as yet.

After recession of floodwater in July this year, farmers started transplanting Aman seedlings with the hope of harvesting crops in due course, but they are in anxiety as the river has started swelling at all points. If the trend continues, water flowing through the breach will damage the Aman seedlings, locals said.

On a visit to the areas, this correspondent found that farmers have transplanted Aman seedlings over a large area. Many of them are still planting seedlings on lands near the breach.

“I have planted Aman seedlings on two bighas of land, but I don't know what will happen next,” said Farhad Ali a small farmer of Bhangamore village.

“Aman farming in this area is risky and the crop might get damaged if water level in the Jamuna river basin rises, since the broken section of the dyke is yet to be repaired. So all depends on the mercy of nature,” said Goalm Mostafa, a ward member of Bharatkhali Union Parishad (UP).

“Water level in the Jamuna basin is still below danger level, so the farmers have planted Aman seedlings taking the risk of damage, but there is still time for the water level to rise,” said Bazlur Rahman Mukta, chairman (in-charge) of the UP.   

Gaibandha Water Development Board (WDB) Executive Engineer Mahbubur Rahman said WDB constructed a flood control dyke along the western bank of the Jamuna earlier to protect vast tracts from floodwater. Around a decade ago, over two kilometres of the dyke along Bhangamore, Sankibhanga and Katlamari were eroded by the surging water, he said, adding that another dyke was constructed behind it later.

The executive engineer said Bhangamore was a polder area east of the main embankment and district Local Government Engineering Department constructed a two-kilometre road-cum-embankment from Sankibhanga to Katlamari with a view to saving over 500 acres of croplands from flood and to ease communication. Surging floodwater washed away 40 metres of the embankment at Bhangamore in August last year, he said.

"WDB will not repair the breached portion at Bhangamore since it was constructed by another department. However, WDB will take initiative if the main embankment is threatened in any way," he added. 

This time, the breached point at Bhangamore was not included in the planned renovation work of damaged roads and embankments since it was a large project, said Mithun Kundu, project implementation officer, Saghata upazila.

On getting approval for repair of the breached section of Bhangamore embankment, the work will start through the upazila parishad, said Ujjal Kumar Ghosh, UNO of Saghata.