MEHERPUR, Dec 28:
Due to the digging of brickfields and ponds in one cultivable land after another, the cultivable land in the district specially in Gangni upazila area of is gradually decreasing. As there is no visible step by the government to change the class of land, landowners are digging ponds and establishing brickfields hither and thither. The Department of Agricultural Extension fears that there may be a food grain crisis in the future due to the reduction in cultivable land.
According to the Gangni Upazila Agricultural Extension Office, the cultivable land in the upazila was 28,566 hectares five years ago. At present this land has been reduced to 23,114 hectares. In particular, the area under aman and vegetable cultivation has been gradually reduced. Apart from the construction of brickfields and digging of ponds, the Department of Agriculture has expressed the view that the land is being reduced due to the construction of houses everywhere without plan.
Various information has been gathered by visiting different areas of Gangni on the spot and talking to the locals. Hashem Ali of Zugirgofa village said that there was 50 acres of land in Mundail beel of this village. Albert Biswas, an aristocrat of the village, dug a pond on 30 bighas of land. Later, when the inlet of the local canal was closed, the low lands of the others became waterlogged. At one stage, the landowners became compelled to sell their lands to Albert Biswas with nominal price. In this way he has cut pond in the vast land in the field. But in the deed of that land it is written Dhani land.
Similarly, ponds and brickfields have been constructed on cultivable land in different areas including Sholotaka Jorpukur Bamandi Chhatian. Many are setting up houses. With the increase in the population of the family, as the family is getting divided, and they are making houses without changing the class of the land. On the other hand, many people are constructing houses on crop lands to facilitate frequentation. Thus the cultivable land is decreasing. Many do not understand the issue of changing land class.
According to sentient people, although there is a class of paddy land houses, ponds and gardens but there is no category of brick kilns. Mentionable, there are at least 42 brickfields in this upazila. And many people are selling soil from the cultivable land to brickfields. This is wasting the fertile energy of the land. It goes without saying, many are digging ponds by selling soil in the brick fields. As a result, the owner of the land is able to dig the pond free of cost and also gets a handsome amount of money.
Gangni Upazila Agricultural Officer Shahibuddin Ahmed said there is no shortage of food due to the cultivation of multi-purpose crops on the same cultivable land and the cultivation of improved and high yielding varieties. As the number of cultivable lands decreases, food shortages may face at anytime. It needs to be remedied now.
Gangni Upazila Assistant Commissioner (Land) Nur E Alam Siddiqui said that no one can change the class of land if he wants to. In this case, permission has to be taken by applying to the Deputy Commissioner. Several have already been raided and fined in the wake of the allegations. Action will be taken in the future too.
Dr. Mansur Alam Khan, DC said that not only in Meherpur, but in the whole country, the cultivable land is declining at the rate of 2%. Land is being reduced in many ways including housing. There is no problem in digging the pond but there are many problems with selling the soil of the pond in the brick field. The administration is working on this and will continue to do so.