S.A Shofiee, Sylhet :
All of the 32 brick kilns are running illegally on the croplands in Sylhet, violating rules of Department of Environment (DoE) and not only hurting local agriculture, but also effecting ecological balance.
Farmers said although they had been protesting against the run of brick fields on croplands over the years, no effective measures have been taken against such harmful acts from the government’s end.
Even the DoE did not take action against any errant brick kilns for unknown reasons.
According to the Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE), crops farming on about 3,300 bighas of land which are located adjacent to these brick fields face setbacks every year.
Moreover, production of about 600 fruit-bearing trees, especially jackfruit and mango, have declined drastically since the brick kilns have been running in the district.
Islam Ali, a farmer at Muglabazar village in Sylhet Dakshin Surma upazila, said he had been getting low production from his three mango and two jackfruit trees for the last eight years because of black smoke emitted from brick kilns.
‘I got expected crops especially paddy production from my two bighas of land, but the production decreased sharply after operation of a brick kiln began at our village eight years ago,’ said another farmer Abdul Ali who resides at the same village.
‘Our school-going children are the worst sufferers of the brick kilns and many of them often fall sick due to the black smoke,’ said Moin Uddin, an inhabitant of Daudpur village.
Mokbul Hossian, owner of Jonota brick kiln at Tetli village under Dakshin Surma upazila, said he as well as other owners of brick kilns ran their business legally, as they had taken permission from the DoE.
‘After visiting the spot several times, the DoE officials had given me permission to run my brick field,’ he said.
Deputy Director of the DAE, acknowledged that brick kilns have been adversely impacting the agriculture sector in the district.
He alleged that the DoE officials never meet with agriculture officials before giving permission to run any brick kiln on cropland.
Farmers do not get expected production and black smoke from the brick kiln pollutes environment, which is also a threat for life of human-being, animals and vegetation, he said.
Senior Chemist of the DoE, Sylhet division, said they had given permission to run brick kiln after visiting and talking with local people several times. ‘If any complaint is submitted to us, the DoE must take necessary steps after investigation.’
S.A Shofiee, Sylhet :