Farmers in 16 northern districts are being compelled to count a lofty amount as irrigation charges this year due to acute drought in the area.
The drought-like situation has seriously jeopardised Aman production this season, they said.
Compiling the amount of money that the farmers are paying as supplementary irrigation cost reaches around Tk5bn in the region.
Officials of the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) told a large number of motorised equipment has been installed in the region to ensure irrigation in the paddy fields.
The department has set this year’s target from rice cultivated from Aman at 4.6m tonnes, harvested on approximately 1.7m hectares of land.
However, the target seems to be way far from reach due to the drought, said the officials.
Md A H Bazrul Rashid, Deputy Director, DAE, Bogra said 18,606 irrigation equipments are currently in operation in the district to serve 77, 215 hectares of land out of a total of 1,92,510 hectares.
“Farmers in the area have to pay Tk1200 per 100 decimal on an average as supplementary irrigation charge,” he said. According to Bogra weather office, till September 26 this year only 32mm (millimetre) rainfall has been recorded whereas it was 345 mm last year during this season.
Sources at the DAE Rangpur and Rajshahi offices said the level of underground water has fallen drastically in several areas including Chapai Nawabganj, Bogra, Rangpur, and Dinajpur in the northern part of the country.
Md Shahjahan Ali, 45, farmer of Bozratek village in Bholahat upazila under Chapai Nawabganj district told this correspondent that he had to pay Tk600 to the Barendra Irrigation Project for irrigation in his 33 decimal of land.
Farmer Rostam Ali, a farmer of Jagonnathpur Village in Shahzahanpur upazila under Bogra district told he had to contact a local who owned an irrigation equipment, for ensuring water supply to his paddy field.
“I will have to pay Tk500 as irrigation charge for cultivating Aman this season,” he said.
Another landowner Md Al Amran Raton of Kalingira village in Ghoraghat upazila under Dinajpur district said he had to count Tk1000 as the irrigation charge for his 50 decimal of land.