Local syndicates cutting topsoil in South Keraniganj
Rail connection on Padma Bridge in risk
Peoples Time Desk
Some local syndicates are cutting topsoil of arable lands in Kunda union of South Keraniganj. As a result of cutting topsoil of arable lands from 5 to 6 places in the union, a vast area has turned into ditch and marshland. The place is very near of the Padma Bridge; so the bridge itself is in risk of damage.
The local people are already discontent over the issue of losing the cultivable lands. From the local sources it’s found that the task of cutting topsoil is being led by Shujon of Kandapara, Babu Mia of Bhahmangaon, Jafar Iqbal Bappy of Panagaon, Roman of Ainta area and Shohag Mia of Arakul. They are leading a strong syndicate of 4 to 5 members. The local landlords have become helpless due to illegal influence of these syndicates. They didn’t get the solution even after filed complaints to local public representatives and administration. On the contrary, they’ve become victim of threat and physical assault.
Our reporters talked to the local people. According to them, the syndicates have been cutting topsoil from the lands of local people and lands bought by people of other union. Even, in some places, soil up to 50-60 feet has been cut. In other places the syndicate cut soil beside the house, which resulting the houses being fall in the risk of collapsing.
Among these syndicates, the job of cutting topsoil in Kaotail Mouja of Kanadapara village is led by Shujon. People like Saddam, Jarif Uddin, Mamun and Kamal Member are his main helper. The work of cutting topsoil in Brahmangaon mouja of Brahmangaon area is led by Babu Mia of Kajirgaon, while his main assistants are Shahid and Parvez.
The same work in Rishi Bari of East Baghoir mouja in Pangaon village is led by Jafar Iqbal Bappy, while Jewel Ahmmed Don, Kawsar and Palash works as his main assistant. As this syndicate is politically influential, they’ve been doing the topsoil cutting works in 2 to 3 spots without much difficulty.
Roman is leading the task of cutting topsoil in Baghoir mouja of Ainta village, while his main partners in crime here are Antor, Himel and Bhelu Mia. In Arakul village, the work is led by Shohag and his assistants are Parvez, Tikka Mia and Jainal. Besides, Rahat of Kazipara village and Kashem Bapari of Kandapara are in this syndicate.
Due to illegal work of these syndicates, local farmers and landlords have become helpless. These soils are being sent to various brickfields and establishment projects. The topsoil cutting is stopped when there’s news over the issue on media, while it’s resumed after some time. As the maximum topsoil of the area was cut, some educational institution including Padma Bridge is in risk of damage.
From the field visit on East Baghoir mouja of Pangaon, the reporter saw topsoil was being cut under supervision of Moazzem and Palash and then transported it to various places by placing the soils on 7 to 8 trucks. On the moment, Moazzem, Palash, the driver and helper of truck fled away sensing the presence of media men.
The reporter found a man on the spot named Manir, who came there to purchase soil. The name of Maozzem, Palash and others were revealed while the reporter talked to him.
A local woman named Hawa Begum came to the spot seeing the presence of journalists. She said the syndicate has been cutting topsoil from the land beside her house which belongs to other people. They have cut topsoil and made a hole of 20 feet deep for which her house fell in the risk of collapsing.
She is worried that her houses will be collapsed in near future.
She furthermore added that she couldn’t get any result despite filing complaint to local representative. Conversely, she got the threat of being killed from the syndicate. As the syndicate is backed by local influential persons, nobody wants to talk against them.
From the field visit in Brahmangaon area, it has been seen that topsoil has been cut in most of the places and the area is filled with marshlands and ponds. Even, soils from areas around Padma Bridge have been cut away, which made the pillars at risk.
The same scenario exists here as the local landlords can’t raise their voice against this crime. Under the condition of being anonymous, a local people said the soils mainly go to brickfields like Mokless Brick Field. Mokhless takes the soil by joining the topsoil cutting syndicate of the area.
Almost same situation was observed in Arakul area.
Over the issue, Keraniganj upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) Md Mehedi Hasan said, “There’s no rule regarding cutting topsoil by changing the classification of the land. However, I’ve heard about cutting topsoil of arable lands. If there’s any incident of plundering soils, then proper action will be taken upon investigation.”
Railway minister Md Nurul Islam Shujan said, “I don’t know anything about it yet. We’ll investigate the matter whether the bridge is in risk due to the cutting soil. If we get proof of this matter, necessary action will be taken.”
Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Md Shahab Uddin said, “Cutting topsoil illegally is definitely an illegal work and threat to environment. We’ll surely take action against the people involved in the process.”
Md Shahjahan, the officer-in-charge of South Keraniganj police station, said, “we’ve seen some vested groups were cutting soils in many places in South Keraniganj. We aren’t sure who or which group are involved in the crime. In past, we took action against people involved in illegal soil cutting. Now, we’ll scrutinize the matter.”