Dakope farmers in distress as burst dam floods paddy fields

Last November, when Cyclone Bulbul had badly hit Bangladesh, Shekhor Sardar of Khona village spent days watching his ripe paddy getting washed away in deluge. A year later, he has again prepared his farm for paddy but is unsure about the future.

Shekhor is not alone. Like him, many farmers of the two villages in Khulna district’s Dakope upazila have been spending sleepless nights staring at huge financial losses due to damage of crops by floods triggered by heavy rainfall-induced dam breach.

“Last year, Cyclone Bulbul wreaked havoc on our paddy crops. We suffered huge financial losses. This year, we took loans to cultivate our farm land. But flood water is hampering the ongoing harvest of Aman crops sown in the rainy season,” says Shekhor.

In fact, a large portion of the local Kamini Basia Wapda dam collapsed some 10 days back, sending torrents of water crashing into the two villages of the upazila. This was after the Dhaki river in Khulna overflowed following heavy rains.

Despite repeated complaints, residents of the two villages claim that the authorities have not yet taken any initiative to repair the embankment.

Officials of the upazila’s Department of Agriculture Extension say that if the Aman crops remain under water for one more week, farmers will not get the ripe paddy this year too.

Some 18,800 hectares of land have been brought under Aman cultivation in the upazila this year. But flood water has already damaged 80 hectares in the two villages of Dakope.

Local UP member Md Sahabuddin Mollah also says that most of the Aman paddy fields in Khona village are under water and this year too, the local farmers are staring at crop failure due to the floods.

Dakope upazila nirbahi officer Mehedi Hasan echoes similar sentiment. “If the local paddy fields remain under water for a few more days, then there is a high possibility of crop damage that will put farmers in distress,” he says.

When contacted, Khulna Water Development Board executive engineer Polash Kumer said that the dam repair work was delayed due to depression over the Bay of Bengal. ”However, we are trying to prevent flood water from entering the crop lands.”

Source: United News of Bangladesh