Paddy farmers in Raninagar upazila in Naogaon are facing losses worth hundreds of thousands of taka as toxic fumes from an explosion of a brick kiln chimney has destroyed around 6.42 hectares of paddy on their fields.
The incident took place more than two weeks ago at the brick field owned by More Brick Kiln in the village, but the affected farmers say they have yet to receive any compensation for their loss.
The heat and fumes from the explosion have turned the paddy in the fields around the brick kiln into husks, the farmers said.
Gross negligence of government rules
More Brick Kiln has been running its operation in Raninagar for two years.
Both their and Bangladesh Bricks Company's brick fields are located in the middle of agricultural lands in Chakadin-Chakkutub area under Raninagar's Kashimpur union, beside the Raninagar-Atrai road and surrounded by the locality and the orphanage and madrasa.
Locals complained that the More Bricks Kiln authorities pile up the soil they use to make bricks on the Raninagar-Atrai road, occupying almost half of it.
The soil makes traffic movement very difficult on the road, especially when it rains and makes the road muddy, making it dangerous for traffic.
Locals said the brick kiln's owners are wealthy and influential, and they used their connections to illegally construct the plant in a residential area, posing a huge threat to public health.
They do not follow government regulations regarding brick fields – their chimney is only half of the standard chimney height, which is 125 feet.
Because the chimney is shorter, the toxic fumes coming out of it affects the locale more severely that usual – even more so after the explosion.
In addition to causing harm to the environment, the brick processing setup makes huge noise.