There is a huge scarcity of irrigation water in Baliatali village under Kalapara upazila of Patuakhali district as local influential people have blocked flow of water from Hakka-Canal to the village for cultivating fish.
Farmers said that they have been cultivating various vegetables and fruits, including watermelons, by collecting water from the Hakka Canal for decades.
Currently, watermelon seedlings planted on the field are dying due to the lack of water as the canal has been blocked by two local influential people named Kashem and Nasir, farmers allege.
The two men took a government lease on the canal to cultivate fish but in the process water has dried up in the surrounding areas, they further allege.
The lease is preventing farmers from collecting water from that canal. The two men are even threatening to beat them up if they attempt to collect water from the canal.
The hapless farmers now demand a solution to the problem so that their fields get some water.
Habibullah Peyada, a farmer from Bara Baliatli village of Kalapara upazila, said this year he has planted watermelon seedlings on two and a half acres of land. But due to lack of water, his field has dried up, which is now pushing him to a loss of about Tk300,000.
Farmer Habibullah further said that last year he earned about Tk500,000 by cultivating watermelons.
More than fifty farmers, including Anwar, Jalil Matubbar and Khalil Howladar, have cultivated watermelons on about 40 acres of land in the village, all of whom are now in dire straits.
Another farmer, Jalil Matubbar, said: “We have filed a petition to the UNO. But still we are unable to collect water from the canal.”
Kalapara Upazila Agriculture Officer ARM Saifullah said: “I have heard about the water crisis. Arrangements are being made so that they can get water there.”
Kalapara Upazila Nirbahi (Executive) Officer Shankar Chandra Boidya said: “I have come to know about the matter. The canal has been leased out and recorded in their (the duo’s) name and I don’t understand how it was recorded.”