At least 15,000 hectares of agricultural land in the southern part of Cumilla cannot be brought under cultivation due to water logging in a year, agricultural officials and farmers say.
The damming of some canals and the Dakatia River leads to leaving some of such swathe of agricultural land under water during Boro season, some during Aush and the rest during Boro, they say.
Some portions of canals and the river have even been earth-filled, converted into farmland or houses and shops built there, slowing down the drainage system, they add.
Such activities, which are illegal, have resulted in such water logging that it lingers even after the monsoon season, according to agricultural officials and farmers.
The agricultural land of Cumilla that remains under water during Boro, Aus and Aman falls under Monohargonj, Laksam, Nangalkot, Chauddagram, Lalmai and Barura.
This correspondent has recently visited Monohargonj, Nangalkot and Laksam to see it for himself how people are suffering due to waterlogging there.
In Monohargonj, many agricultural lands are still waterlogged. Some farmers are making floating Boro paddy seedbeds, while many others do not afford to do so.
Most of the canals in the area are now illegally occupied. Several canals there have even been almost totally earth-filled.
Monohargonj Deputy Assistant Agriculture Officer Mostafa Kamal says there are 10,540 hectares of agricultural land in in the area.
But farmers can cultivate Boro paddy on 10,200 hectares of land, as the rest remains under water during the season, he adds.
In Nangalkot’s Khajuria village, influential people have been cultivating fish by damming the mouth of Gazaria, a canal that flows into the Old Dakatia River.
With this, the drainage system of at least 20 villages has been disrupted, leaving hundreds of hectares of farmland there remain now under water and uncultivated.
Nangalkot Agriculture Officer Zahidul Hasan says there are 16,148 hectares of agricultural land in the area, but farmers can cultivate Boro paddy on 12,600 hectares as the rest remains under water during the season.
In Laksam’s Uttarada union, various places of Nalua canal have been occupied there. As a result, the farmers of at least ten villages on both sides of the canal have fallen into disarray.
At least 500 hectares of agricultural land in these areas are waterlogged.
Laksam Deputy Assistant Agriculture Officer Jewel Ul Alam says there are 9,445 hectares of agricultural land in the area.
Of the agricultural land, about 8,600 hectares can be brought under Boro cultivation and 5,000 under Aman, 9,900 hectares under Aus as the rest remains under water during those seasons, he says.
Asked, Deputy Director of Agricultural Extension Department, Cumilla, Surjit Chandra Dutta says he is aware of the water logging situation.
Measures will soon be taken towards addressing the water logging problem by reclaiming and digging up canals and the river.