A hazard to life
30 brick kilns in just one village
MAGURA, Dec 4: Thirty brick kilns that were set up in Bagbaria village in sadar upazila occupying the Modhumati River and defying the government ban have become a serious threat to the everyday life of the villagers as well as the environment.
Invariably cloaked in dust, the village is now widely known as 'Brick Kiln Village'.
Visiting the village, this correspondent found a vehicle called 'Dump Car' which is used for transporting soil, sand and brick. All these things have made the roads at this village unusable while the constant billowing smoke from the brick kilns made the life here horrible.
On one hand the amount of arable land is decreasing and people are falling victims to environmental pollution on the other, said residents of the village.
They said these illegal brick kilns have now become a threat to the Modhumati River as well as they have started encroaching it.
According to the district administration, Bagbaria village has the highest number of brick kilns in the district -- 30 out of 90.
Out of the total 90 brick kilns in the district, only 10 have licences to operate while the remaining ones are operating without any permission.
These illegal brick kilns are often fined by mobile courts conducted by the district administration. However, that has not been able to stop the bricks from burning. Besides, these brick kilns use short chimneys instead of 120-foot ones made of concrete as per law.
Some local residents who are associated with these brick fields said that 50 lakh bricks are burned on average throughout the season in each of the brick kilns in the district.
For every 1 lakh bricks, 80 to 100 tonnes of fuel are needed and accordingly around 4 to 5 lakh metric tonnes of firewood is required for the 90 brick kilns, they said.
Jahidul Amin, deputy director of Magura Department of Agricultural Extension, said a decision has been made in this regard through a resolution at the district administrator's office.
"No factory or brick kiln can be set up on land used to grow three crops. Every union parishad chairman and members have been notified about it," he said.
"However, I'm not aware of any decision on setting up brick fields occupying rivers and using the soil of rivers for making bricks," Amin added.
Magura sadar upazila nirbahi officer (UNO) Abu Sufian said steps will be taken if brick fields are set up on land used to grow three crops based on complaints by the affected individuals but could not say what action will be taken against river encroaching.
Prompt action will be taken against illegal bricks kilns, he said.