One month's struggle of the farmers to keep Shonir Haor intact against the flood current has gone in vain as parts of two embankments circling the Haor have fallen apart.
A 50-foot-long breach was developed on the Lalurgoala embankment located at Rajdharpur village of Dakkhin Shreepur Union in Tahirpur around 2:30am on Sunday, according to locals.
Besides, a part of another embankment in neighbouring Ramjibanpur village has also breached open.
The breaches made ways for the Boulai River to spill into the paddy fields of the basin.
For the past few weeks, the farmers of Hakaluki Haor in the north-eastern districts have been reeling from the recent flash flood that submerged their crop lands, and killed fishes and ducks.
Local agriculture officials say until last week, at least 11 upazilas of Sunamganj district were heavily hit by the flood.
But Saturday’s heavy rain and onrush of hill water has worsened the situation in Shonir Haor, the second largest water body in the district.
Ekram Hossain, a farmer from Tahirpur village, expressed frustration saying that he had cultivated paddy on 450 decimal lands which would go under water in no time.
Tahirpur Upazila Agricultural Officer Abdus Salam told the Dhaka Tribune that about 10,000 hectares of land in Shonir Haor were brought under paddy cultivation by the farmers of some 50 villages in Tahirpur, Jamalpur and Bishambharpur upazilas.
The villagers did not sit idle when the heavy rainfall in late March threatened their crops. They voluntarily worked days and nights to build some impromptu embankments which finally gave way to the strong current of the Boulai.
Tahirpur Upazila Nirbahi Officer Mohammad Saiful Islam said that the farmers of Shonir Haor area had not left any stone unturned to save the embankments.
The upazila administration had also assisted them with bamboo, sand and sacks, and the elected representatives also cooperated in the efforts, but the all the things had gone in vain.
Besides, announcements were made frequently through loudspeakers of the local mosques urging all to participate in the work.
Kolomdor Ali of Sahebnagar said: “I have never seen such a scenario of the Haor in my whole life.”
“There is no benefit of the repairing the dams; only the river dredging can solve the flood problem,” said Ramjibonpur village’s Rafiqul Islam.
Tahirpur Upazila Chairman Kamruzzaman Kamrul has urged the government to take step for a permanent solution.
Many villagers have raised allegations of corruption in the embankment repair projects.
“Departmental action will be taken if anyone is found involved in corruption in the Haor embankment projects,” said Sunamganj Water Development Board’s Deputy Divisional Engineer Ranjan Kumar Das.
One of the larger of its kind in Sunamganj, the low-lying areas of Shonir Haor remains under water for about six months a year. Paddy can be grown only during the Boro season (November-April) and it is the main income source for the people living in the area.