The heat from brick kilns has destroyed paddy on about 166 acres of field in Manikganj Sadar upazila’s Gokulnagar and Sulandi villages, farmers and agriculture officials say. But there is nothing unique in this year’s incident.
Gour Chandra Sarkar, a deputy assistant agriculture officer, says paddy fields are damaged every year this way. “We’ve warned the brick kiln operators several times but nothing’s changed,” he says.
Agriculture officials say the IRRI rice production target for this season is unlikely to be met.
Farmers say they had been preparing to harvest the paddy in two weeks’ time but now they are staring at a bleak future with their only mean of livelihood gone.
About 200 farmers have been affected. Shahab Uddin, manager of one of the brick kilns, says they are making a list of farmers for compensating them.
Farmers have been asking for the removal of brick kilns from near the fields for a long time, but their words have fallen on deaf ears.
Although operators of about 15 brick kilns near the paddy fields have acknowledged their roles, it is yet unclear whether they will be relocated.
Sadar Upazila Agriculture Officer Imtiaz Alam says brick kiln operators paid no heed to their warnings.
“Paddy on about 500 bighas has been completely damaged this time. Compensating the farmers is the only thing that can be done now,” he says.