A vast tract of charland (shoal) emerged on the bed of the river Padma adjacent to Rajshahi city has become a boon for farmers as alluvial land of those chars are being used to cultivate various crops including paddy, wheat, lentil, peanut, sesame and mustard.
Even, many of the charlands have now become permanent and farmers have planted there even large trees like mango, jujube, litchi and banana while the land is also being used to cultivate various vegetables including brinjal, cabbage, potato, tomato, onion and pepper.
Hundreds of people living in various char villages are now happy as the land on the bed of the Padma river that remained under water round the year and the emerged shoals used to erode in the current of water, have now turned into valuable land for cultivation of fruits, vegetables and crops.
This year, there was no exception, as a vast tract of new charland with alluvial soil has emerged as farmers are preparing those lands for cultivation of Boro paddy there.
Farmers of Char Majardiar village under Paba upazila informed, this year a huge tract of riverbed of Padma have dried up and except the main flow of the river, all surrounding areas with several pockets of shallow ditches, are being used as cultivable land.
He said, this year char lands got more alluvial sediment during the last monsoon. As a result, they are hopefully cultivating Boro paddy this season.
Aminul Haque (45) of Char Majardiar village wants to cultivate Boro on three bighas of land, Nabed Ali on four bighas, Golam Mustofa and Rustom on three bighas of land each and Yead Ali on 10 bighas of land.
Golam Mostafa, a farmer of Char Asariadaha village said, this year they want to cultivate Boro but they are facing problems.
The main problem is to carry seed, fertiliser and fuel to the char land from the markets of town and cities. In the char villages, they have no fertiliser or fuel dealer. As a result, they have to come to the city traversing 5.0 to 8.0 km of dried river bed to purchase fuel and fertiliser.
Moreover, carrying fertiliser, fuel and other commodities at the Char land is further troublesome because no vehicle ply over those dried and sub-merged land. They have to shoulder-carry those things.
Farmers said in the previous years, many new char areas were covered by sand. As a result, those chars could not be used for cultivation.
But, this year all chars are filled with rich, fertile sediment which are very good for Boro cultivation.
Sanaullah, a resident of Diar Manik Char village said, hardship and poverty of char people is going to remove due to deposit of huge silt on their land every year.
The Farakka barrage of India across the river Ganges (Padma) has caused extreme loss to environment, farming and fisheries but the char villages are now trying to recoup their losses through alternative system of cultivation.
He said, in the previous years, it was not possible to cultivate crops and vegetables on char land but, now farmers have started cultivation of crops there and they are gradually becoming successful in their efforts.
Paba Upazila Agriculture office source said last year farmers of Char Majhardiar cultivated Boro on 3,700 bighas of land and farmers of Char Khidirpur cultivated crops on some 800 bighas.
Farmers demanded appointment of dealers for fuel and fertiliser in the char areas. If a number of dealers are appointed for Char villages, they would be able to save their extra travelling costs and time for collecting those.
Agriculture Office sources of Paba upazila informed considering the demand of char people, fertiliser and seed dealers were appointed in Char village hat of Asariadaha but char villages are so scattered and far away that it was not possible for farmers of all villages to visit the hat and procure fertiliser and seed from there and there is no provision to appoint such dealers in each char villages.
AKM Monjure Maula, Upazila Agrciulture Officer of Paba said char people were now cultivating various crops and vegetables and growing various fruits on the charlands of the river Padma.
They were also rearing cattle and sheep in the pasture land of the emerged char. They were now living happily.
Golam Mostafa, Chairman of Char Asaridaha union informed, the farmers of the village could easily procure fertiliser and seeds from nearby Bidirpur hat, Rajabari hat and Premtali Haat.
Though a dealer has been appointed at Char Asariadaha, it was easier to move towards other hats through boats.