'This is ridiculous. It happens every year and we need a sustainable plan to avert this kind of situation in the future'
Farmers are forced to harvest their half-ripe paddy in the haor regions as croplands are inundated by incessant rain and water from upstream in Bishambharpur upazila of Sunamganj.
The Surma River has risen significantly and it is keeping water in the haors, causing waterlogging in the croplands, said the local Water Development Board (WDB).
Md Al-Amin of the local WDB said: “The Surma has swollen up due to the incessant rain in the past few days. Now, we can’t lower the rubber dam because that will let more water into the haors.”
On a visit to the affected areas on Friday, this correspondent found farmers waist deep in water, busy harvesting their crops in anticipation of another flood.
Farmer Narayan Barman of Krishna Nagar said: “Our croplands are always flooded during this time of the year and this year it’s no different. We are worried that our half-ripe crops will be damaged in the coming floods if we don’t harvest it soon.”
Askar Ali, another farmer from the same village, said: “I planted 29 varieties of paddy this year, all of which have been inundated by the rush of water from upstream and high plains. The paddy has taken its time to ripen. But I had to begin harvesting to save my crops from getting completely submerged.”
Monju Barman said: “We can’t find farmhands to help with harvesting because no one wants to work all day waist-deep in water. We now have to pay extra to hire good help.”
Sreebash Chandra Barman said: “The haors are full, water can’t flow and has nowhere to go, and the upstream water can’t drain into the Surma River. This is ridiculous that it happens every year. We need a sustainable plan to avert this kind of situation in the future.”
Bishambharpur Upazila Parishad Chairman Safar Uddin said: “Due to incessant rain in the past few days, water from upstream, with no path to get to the rivers, has inundated the croplands in the low-lying regions. This happens every year. The upazila administration is prepared to compensate farmers for their potential losses.”
Bishambharpur Upazila Agriculture Officer Deepak Kumar Das said: “Farmers have begun harvesting their half-ripe crops, worried about impending floods but this should not be a problem.
“Farmers of the upazila have already harvested paddy from 1,620 hectares of the total 1,820 hectares of paddy croplands in the region. Weather permitting, all farmers in the low-lying regions can gather their harvest in time.”