The farmers of this region might not be able to harvest any Boro paddy this year
More than 150 acres of Boro paddy fields in Syedpur of Nilphamari have been badly damaged by the excessive heat, and hot air emitted from the nearby brick kilns.
Affected farmers in Kamarpukur union under Syedpur upazila claimed that the extremely hot air emitted from the 22 brick kilns in the area is severely damaging their croplands.
Although vast quantities of paddy stalks still populate the fields, the stalks contain no grains. The fields have turned reddish, and in a few places the paddy stalks have turned whitish.
The farmers of this region might not be able to harvest any Boro paddy this year.
The brick kiln labourers, after brick burning, open the air pockets of the burner to cool it down, which emits hot air and ashes that spread over to the nearby paddy fields, during brick production.
However, the Agricultural Department is yet to take any steps to stop the brick kiln owners from engaging in this practice. The farmers are on the brink of losing everything after repeatedly facing losses of harvest.
Farmer Noor Banu, from Kamarpukur union, said: "I planted crops on nearly 1 acre of land, spending a lot of money. But just a few days after grains started appearing, the heat emitted from the nearby MZH brick kiln burned my crops. I have suffered severe losses."
Similar sentiments were echoed by several other farmers.
Despite being informed, the Syedpur Agricultural Department did nothing to remedy the situation. The farmers were forced to protest in the brick kiln areas, demanding the closure of nearby brick kilns.
Farmer Shafiqul Islam alleged that the union parishad, instead of protesting against the establishment of brick kilns on cropland, is taking bribes from the brick kiln owners, and issuing trade licenses, causing damages to the farmers.
Owner of Messrs Zikrul Haque Traders brick kiln, Harun Haque, dismissed the farmers' claims.
"We have been burning bricks in our kilns for 22 years," he said. "Nothing like this has ever happened before. The paddy fields might have burned due to the high temperature or drought. The emission from brick kilns has not caused the damage."
He suggested, the Agricultural Department should investigate the matter further.
Humaira Mandal, Syedpur upazila Agricultural officer, said necessary measures will be taken to tackle the situation after surveying the paddy fields. "A team has already been formed. We will inform the higher authorities about it."
Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Syedpur, SM Golam Kibria, said an investigative team has been formed on the basis of verbal complaints from the farmers. A report will be filed within three days, and necessary action will be taken based on that report.