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Crop fields lying forsaken as men flee houses fearing arrest

All the jute plants are drying in fields in three unions of Saltha upazila as almost all the men of the three unions have gone into hiding following cases filed in connection with the violence on April 5.

According to the Saltha upazila Agriculture Office, there are 4,530 hectares of cultivable land in Sonapur, Bhawal and Ramkantapur unions.

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A total of 3,990 hectares of land of the three unions have been brought under jute cultivation this year.

Besides jute, Boro paddy has been cultivated in 156 hectares and different types of vegetables have been cultivated in the rest of the land.

But due to the absence of the male members in the three unions, all the jute plants are drying up in fields and they immediate irrigation and weeding.

Meanwhile, five cases have been filed so far over the attacks on different government offices and infrastructures in the upazila on April 5 against 261 named and 4,000 unnamed people.  Police have so far arrested 89 persons in connection with the attack.

For this reason, those who were involved in the incident have fled to escape arrest, the ones who had nothing to do with it are also on the run fearing arrest.

Visiting different villages, this correspondent found that almost all the male members of these three unions were absent from their houses. Only women, old people and children were to be seen in the houses.

This has affected the agricultural sector. “This region is renowned for Jute and onion. After the onion cultivation, the farmer of our area has cultivated jute in the land. Jute has just started to grow. If we do not take care properly, we will not get the desired production,” some villagers said.

Farida Parvin, 39, a housewife of Purora village under Bhawal union said, “My husband is a rickshaw puller. He has been running from house since April 5 after the violence. We have cultivated jute on two bighas of land after taking lease. We have not been able to irrigate the land for the last 15 days. My elder daughter, 14, tires to weed the land but it is not enough for our land.”

Rehana Begum, 46, a housewife of Fukra village under Sonapur union said, “After the violence my husband left our house to avoid harassment. My husband has cultivated jute on 1.5 bighas of land this year. We cannot look after at the land. All the jute plants are drying up due to scorching heat.” 

Hashi Begum, 51, a housewife of Bhawal village said, “My husband is the only male member in our family. I have six daughters. We have no vegetables in our house. We have been passing our days eating only rice and boiled potatoes. On the other our crops fields are being damaged.”

Jibangsu Das, Upazila Agriculture Officer of Saltha upazila said, “The corps fields of Sonapur, Bhawal and Ramkantapur union are getting damaged gradually due to lack of care. If the farmers do not take care of their jute within two or three days, at least 30-40 of the jute plants will die due to lack of water.”

We have also discussed about the matter with police and we shall talk with local representatives to solve the matter, he added.

Reference