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90 illegal brick kilns run in Sirajganj

Published on: 11:41 am - Sunday | March 11, 2018

Currentnews.com.bd

At least 90 brick kilns in several upazilas of the district are running without any licence or legal document, but the authorities concerned have not yet taken any measures against these. About 90 percent of the brick kilns in the district have been set up on agricultural lands.

Sources said there are 160 brickfields in the district. Of them, 70 brick fields have approval from the Department of Environment. The rest are running illegally violating all rules and regulations.

But the authorities concerned have not taken any step against the illegal brick kilns yet as a section of local influential persons set up these brickfields by managing the administration, sources alleged.

According to Burning of Bricks (control) Amen-dment Act 2010, setting up of brick field within three kilometres of farmland, forest, township and human habitation area is illegal. On a visit along Rayganj-Nalka-Sirajganj road recently, this correspondent saw 100 brick kilns set up on farmland.

On a recent visit, this correspondent found that Md Danaj Uddin Sarker of Pangasi bazar area started setting up Sorma Brick on eight acres of farmland nine months ago. There are around 80 houses within 100 metres to 300 metres of the kiln, and also a government primary school about 600 metres away. Vegetables are cultivated on lands adjacent to the kiln.

Farmers of Chanpur area in Rayganj upazila said the brick kiln owners are very powerful and put pressure on farmers to sell their lands to them. Crops on land adjacent to brick kilns are badly affected and the land becomes infertile, they added.

M/S Sharmin Brick Kiln was set up on five acres of land in Harinchara village. Its manager said the owner set up the kiln there as the site is beside the road, which is convenient for transportation. The land belongs to the kiln owner, he added.

Though use of wood is illegal but local administration does not take any action against those brick kilns as they get money from the owners, he alleged. According to green activists and health experts, using wood in the brick kilns as fuel is not only a major cause of deforestation, it also has negative impacts on the environment in respect of air quality, human health and vegetation in particular as brick kilns emit huge amount of toxic fumes in the air.

While talking with The Asian Age, some farmers at Rayganj upazila alleged that production of paddy has been reduced to a great extent as many brick kilns have been set up beside paddy fields, and the fields are being directly affected due to emission of toxic smoke from the kilns.

Besides, field sources said, brick kilns owners sometimes compel the farmers to sell topsoil of their lands to be used in the kilns.

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