Due to a large-scale digging of earth and using the soil at different brick kilns, vast tracts of cropland across Sirajdikhan upazila of the district are shrinking day by day. As a result, most of the arable lands are becoming useless, and the soil fertility is also decreasing, according to sources.
To meet the demand for making bricks, enormous quantity of soil is necessary, and for this reason, illegal act of earth digging is going on defying the existing rules. A group of syndicate is controlling this malpractice; and to continue their illegal business, they are trapping the poor and marginal land owners. In many cases, the syndicate collects the earth forcefully, the field sources said.
This increasing trend of earth removal is now a serious threat to the food security of the region, experts visualised.
On the other hand, unabated earth removal is not only reducing cultivable lands but also creating unemployment problem for the farmers and farm workers. Most importantly, this destructive process has damaging effect on the environment and the ecological balance, according to environmentalists.
Meanwhile, the soil of 300 bighas of croplands in the middle part of Guakhola north and Guakhola has been completely ruined by the ongoing earth removal, locals alleged.
Traditionally, this particular region of Sirajdikhan and adjoining areas abounds with full range fertility where abundant crops are produced during every season round the year.
From the field sources, this correspondent came to know that during last few years, a powerful syndicate is forcefully compelling the farmers to remove earth from their lands.
Firstly, the syndicate members start persuading the farmers saying that they will remove earths only from the low land at the corner. But when they step in the land, they remove the earth according to their desire.
To collect earth, they install ‘Vaccu’ at a corner of a land and continue the destructive process in such a way that the soil of the adjacent lands also get damaged and the owners of those lands, finding no other alternative to save the lands, allow the syndicate members to collect earth from those also, locals added.
In this way, the land grabbers have damaged hundreds of bighas of agricultural lands. To deport the removed earth by trucks, the powerful syndicate has even created temporary roads across the croplands of others, and this is also damaging the lands.
Seeking anonymity, a resident of the area, said the land owners hardly dare taking any legal measures against the land grabbers. But according to the existing law, anybody grabbing any land must face two years’ jail and fine or both.
General Secretary of Guakhola Nagar Jame Mosque Shahabuddin Sheik alleged that one acre land of the mosque was also partially damaged through this indiscriminate soil cutting.