Wednesday, June 19, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Farmers deprived of land rent, crops for 8yrs

Update : 11 Apr 2014, 08:12 PM

For nearly eight years, a number of farmers in Goghat area of Gaibandha Sadar upazila have been unable to grow crops in a 10-bigha land because the terrain is littered with hard rocks.

Although the situation has been prevailing for eight long years, the farmers have been given no compensation. Neither do they know when the rocks, owned by Gaibandha District Water Development Board, will be displaced.  

Sources say in 2004, the Water Development Board (WDB) took a project to use cc block and hard rock on the right bank of Brahmaputra with a view to protecting Kamarjani Bazar from erosion. Contractor firm Western Engineering Private Limited was awarded the project estimated to be worth Tk40 crore.

While implementing the project, the company brought large amounts of hard rocks in Kamarjani. In order to store those, it leased 10 bighas of land in nearby Goghat area from 14 farmers under yearly contract.

Yunus Ali, one of the 14 farmers, said according to the contract, the firm was supposed to pay them Tk500 in rent annually for each decimal of land.

“In the first year, they paid the amount but later on, they began raising excuses and refused to pay. This is how the farmers were not only deprived of the rent but were also unable to cultivate the lands,” he said.   

The project was completed in 2007 but there was nearly 3,500 cubic metres of hard rock left over, according to sources. The contractor firm took the money equivalent to the price of the leftover rocks from the WDB and left, thus leaving the farmers in a predicament.

When the farmers contacted WDB officials, they refused to pay the rent. This added to the farmers’ woes. After eight long years, they are now in a quandary as they do not know what to do with the rocks.

Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, WDB executive engineer Md Abdul Awal said the rocks, worth around Tk1.25 crore, were not needed now for the project and could be displaced.

“In that case, they could be used for preventing Jamuna erosion in Ratanpur of Fulchari upazila. Last year, we sought Tk56 lakh in transportation cost from the higher authorities but till date, we haven’t received a single penny. That’s why the rocks are lying around there,” Awal explained.

Kamarjani union parishad chairman Chakmal Hossain said the rocks were stored illegally in the lands of the farmers.  “Consequently, not only the farmers but also the country itself is being deprived of crops that could have been grown there.

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