Farmers bear the brunt of dried up Teesta
Only a couple of weeks ago, the flow of water in Teesta river was enough to facilitate farming, but the mighty waterbody has completely dried up in many places of Lalmonirhat since then.
As a result, many farmers in different char areas of the district, who cultivate various crops on the sandy char lands, are compelled to use diesel-run shallow machines to irrigate their croplands.
Farmers are relentlessly working to produce various types of vegetables like potatoes, pumpkins, maize, onions and chillies on the vast sandy land by the Teesta.
Farmer Rustam Ali of Char Gokunda village in Sadar upazila said he has planted potatoes and chillies on his land.
But as there is no water in Teesta, he had to set up a shallow machine on the riverbed to irrigate his potato and chilly fields, Rustam said.
Echoing Rustam, Aziz Uddin, a farmer from the same village, added that using the machines means increased production cost.
Another farmer, Moksedul Islam of Char Bhotmari village in Kaliganj upazila, said huge amounts of water are required for potato and pumpkin cultivation.
Nazrul Islam, a farmer from Char Gaddimari in Hatibandha upazila, said he has cultivated maize on 12 bigha of sandy land. He uses diesel-run shallow machines to provide irrigation water for the maize field every day.
Lalmonirhat Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Deputy Director Hamidur Rahman said about 20,000 farmers in different upazilas are growing various crops on vast char areas along Teesta and Dharla rivers.
Char farmers have changed their fates by growing potatoes, maize, pumpkins and other crops on sandy land.
"The cost of crop production would have been little if there were enough water flow in the Teesta river," he said.
Lalmonirhat Water Development Board (WDB) Executive Engineer Mizanur Rahman said Teesta's water flow is not enough because the riverbed is full of silt. It seems the river has been divided into five or six narrow channels.