Irrigation in Boro fields faces setback
Irrigation in 2,500 hectares of land in Nilphamari is facing setback in the ongoing Boro season as transformer theft has become rampant which may lead to production fall.
The dry season paddy needs massive irrigation using power-run shallow pumps or deep tube-wells but criminals continued stealing transformers, much to the worry of farmers in the district.
According to sources, total 124 transformers have been stolen in Nilphamari this year. Of them, 42 have been owned by Barind Multipurpose Development Authority (BMDA) and 26 by Bangladesh Agriculture Development Corporation (BADC) respectively to irrigate with deep tube-wells while individuals own 56 to operate shallow pumps.
Due to this, irrigation to 2,500 hectares of land faces uncertainty as each deep tube-well can cover 30 hectares and shallow pump five hectares.
In mid-December, thieves stole two transformers of the deep tube-well owned by farmers' association at Uttar Gobindapur village in Nilphamari Sadar upazila under BADC at early stage of transplantation period.
Monzurul Islam, manager of the association, said as per rule of Rural Electrification Board (REB), farmers should pay for replacement of stolen transformers as each 10 kva transformer costs Tk 65 thousand.
"We couldn't transplant Boro saplings in time as power connection restored two months later in mid-February. It happened as we failed to pay in time but finally REB considered our case and allowed payment in installments," he added.
Project stakeholder farmer Babulal Roy said, "Due to late plantation, production in each bigha may drastically fall to 12-15 maunds as usual yield of Boro is averagely 25-28 maunds."
"We got replacement of stolen transformer only after 12 days but by this time saplings turned reddish for want of irrigation water as it was their growing stage," said farmer Ershad Ali of Ranachandi Abiler Bazaar Farmers' Association in Kishoreganj upazila under BMDA, adding that their transformer was stolen in January.
Farmers' Association managers Aminur Huq Shah of Tupamari village in Sadar and Kamrul Islam Sona of Chilahati village in Domar upazila said farmers lodged complaints to local police stations seeking recovery of stolen transformers but get no result.
BMDA's Zonal Engineer in Nilphamari Alamgir Md Ruhul Islam said, "Transformer stealing causes concern. I have requested police to take action in this regard."
"For sake of food production, we instantly replace stolen transformers with new ones by allowing farmers to pay small amount as first installment and the rest even after Boro harvest," said General Manager of REB Sultan Nasimul Huq.
Officer-in-Charge of Sadar Police Station Abdur Rouf said they were raiding different areas to arrest the criminals.