Vast tracts of fertile arable land in the villages of the Teesta and Dharla river basin areas in the district have been covered with sand carried by floodwater.
Farmers are worried as their arable lands have become unfit for cultivating crops as they are two to three feet under the sand.
Shahidul Islam, 35, a farmer at Etapota village in Sadar upazila, said five of his eight pieces of arable land have been buried under sand carried by water from the Dharla river. “My lands were fertile and produced all kinds of crops, especially paddy and vegetables,” he said. “No crop can be cultivated on these sand-covered lands,” he said, adding that at least 150 bighas of fertile arable lands in the village have turned into sandy tracts.
“We have no alternative for earning except farming, but our fertile arable lands are now covered with sand carried by floodwater,” said farmer Jahir Ali, 55.
“Two to three feet of sand was dumped on our arable lands by floodwater from the Teesta river, and these lands cannot be used for cultivating any crops,” said Yasin Ali, 56, of Khuniyagachh village.
“It is not possible to manually remove the sand from the land. If we get machines we will be able to remove the sand,” said Shahedul Islam, 48.
Deputy Director of the district Department of Agriculture Extension (DAE) Bidubhushon Roy told this correspondent that floodwater carried huge amounts of sand from the Teesta and Dharla rivers to the mainland easily as the dyke collapsed at many places this year.
“Farmers will have to remove the sand manually as DAE cannot provide machines,” he added.