30 illegal brick kilns are running in Char-Sadipur Union of Kumarkhali Upazila in Kushtia. And wood is being burned freely in these illegal brick kilns. In addition to reducing the amount of agricultural land in this area, the environment and cropland are under threat.
Illegal vehicles powered by shallow engines are also being used to carry mud and bricks, ruining the roads in the area. There is no end to the suffering of the residents of this densely populated area.
Environmentalists say that if these illegal brick kilns are not stopped soon, the environment and biodiversity of the area will face serious harm.
It is known that about 25 thousand people live in Char-Sadipur union of Kumarkhali upazila of Kushtia. As the union is across the Padmani river, the traffic system is very poor. The brick kiln owners of that area have taken advantage of this. He built 30 brick kilns in the same union. All of which were built illegally. Banned drum chimneys are used in most brick kilns. Wood is being burnt freely, soil from agricultural land is being used to make bricks. In addition to reducing the amount of agricultural land in this area, the cropland around the river is under threat. The rural communication system has broken down due to illegal traffic. As a result, the residents of this densely populated area are in dire straits.
Talked with Saidul Islam, a farmer of Charsadipur village. He said, day and night, bricks and earth are pulled by vehicles. Due to this, all the roads in the area have been damaged. Can’t sleep at night with the sound of cars. Can’t even stay at home because of the dust.
Another farmer named Kashem Ali said, ‘The trees are dying due to dust falling to eat mustard. Again, various crops are being damaged by the black smoke of brick kilns. There is no one to protest. We common people dare not even say anything. Some of the administration come sometimes, but leave again without saying anything.’
Another resident named Rahmat Ali said, ‘Burning wood in the furnace is a crime, but they have finished the trees in the area and are now buying wood from outside and burning it as they want. If you say something, they say that we run the kiln by managing everyone, if there is no problem with the administration, what about you. So we keep quiet.’
Meanwhile, none of the brick kilns built in this area have environmental clearance. However, the Bhatar authorities say that they are running the Bhatar with regular VAT. Wood is being burned freely in these illegally built brick kilns. Acknowledging the fact of burning wood freely, the concerned people say that they are forced to burn wood because the price of coal is high.
The manager of a brick kiln in Charsadipur of Kumarkhali upazila, who did not want to be named, said, ‘The price of coal is high so trees have to be cut and burnt. If the government reduces the price of coal, I will stop burning wood.’
The manager of another brick factory said, ‘The government is not giving the license even after applying. So forced to run the kiln illegally.’
Environmentalist Khalilur Rahman Mozu said, ‘If the government has the will, it is possible to bring the kilns in a systematic manner by carrying out proper operations. Different types of trees are being used as fuel in these kilns, they bring small quantities of coal to show people, and show them that they are burning the trees to make bricks. It is destroying the balance of the environment, the amount of carbon dioxide in the air is increasing. The administration certainly sees them, but for special reasons they close their eyes. The result of which the common people have to suffer.
Habibul Bashar, Assistant Director (Acting) of Environment Department, Kushtia, said, ‘There are 206 kilns in the district, of which 184 are illegal. So it is not possible for us to take action against 206 Bhatas together. Because we don’t have that amount of manpower. Again the magistrate is not available on time. But regular operations will be carried out soon.’
Kushtia Deputy Commissioner Ehetesham Reza said, ‘If the bricklayer is working against the existing law, the provisions of the law are not followed, then we will definitely take legal action against him. In the meantime, I have given notice to all the brick factories through the Department of Environment. They should not start the operation of low tide without the permission of the department.’
Regarding the construction of bricks by excavating the surface of the crop land, the Deputy Commissioner said, “If anyone does not do this within the rules, then I will definitely take action against them.”