Crop cultivation on 50,000 bighas of land in Cumilla district is now under threat as water level in the Kaladumur river has fallen.
Thousands of paddy farmers of several unions under four upazilas of Cumilla and Chandpur districts are now in great trouble as they use the river water for irrigation.
A good number of farmers said there was no alternative to excavate the river in the 13-km area from Daudkandi Gauripur to Elliotganj Bridge to ensure adequate irrigation facilities.
Local sources said the Kaladumur river originates from the Gauripur area of the Gomati river. It is also called the branch of the Gomati river. However, the river is dying for lack of proper excavation.
Sources said more than 10,000 farmers of different villages of the banks of the river depend on the river for irrigation water. These farmers can grow crops only if sufficient water is available in this river during the Boro season.
Jamal Uddin, a farmer at Singula village under Daudkandi upazila, said people have been facing extreme water crisis for irrigation, bathing and household work.
Local agricultural entrepreneur Matin Saikot said that large boats would ply the river. Different species of native fish could be found in the river. However, the river has not been excavated for a long time. A large portion of the river has been silted up and occupied by water hyacinth.
He said, "We had organised demonstrations with local farmers at different times to dig the river. If the river could have dug, crop production in these areas would have increased."
Daudkandi upazila agriculture officer Md Sarwar Zaman said the banks of the Kaladumur river is known as a crop producing area. It is important to excavate the river to boost Boro yield. If water is available during the irrigation season, the crop yield here will be doubled.
Executive Engineer of Water Development Board, Cumilla, Md Abdul Latif said, "We have plans to dig the river. Hopefully, this will solve the irrigation problem of farmers."