Friday, July 6, 2007

5,000 farmers sued for attack on govt offices at Nachole

5,000 farmers sued for attack on govt offices at Nachole

Nachole upazila administration yesterday filed a case against 5,000 unnamed farmers for attacking and damaging government properties on Wednesday.

Emdadul Haq, office superintendent of the upazila parishad, filed the case with Nachole Police Station.

Farmers in the area fearing arrest have been keeping off their homes. They are also avoiding fertiliser stores and the local agricultural office, locals said.

Fewer than a hundred farmers were seen gathered on the office premises of the UNO (Upazila Nirbahi Officer) for fertiliser.

Before the Wednesday's violence, thousands of farmers used to line up for fertiliser at the UNO's office every morning during the last several days, the locals added.

The farmers demanded open sale of urea and they blamed Monjur Morshed, the UNO of Nachole, for Wednesday's occurrence and demanded his removal immediately.

Locals complained that the UNO has a bad reputation of misbehaving with people. The UNO on Monday physically assaulted a UP member, Sharif Uddin, during distribution of fertiliser at Mollikpur.

Meanwhile, the three-member probe committee, headed by Additional District Magistrate Mustafizur Rahman, started its investigation. Other members of the committee are Sazzadur Rahman, additional superintendent of police, and Asim Kumar Malakar, deputy director of agriculture extension department.

The farmers demanded a fair probe by neutral persons and they alleged that the district administration committee has leanings toward the UNO.

Chapainawabganj Deputy Commissioner Shahadat Hossain said action would be taken against the persons responsible for the incident after the probe is completed.

Among the 10 fertiliser dealers in four unions of the upazila, this correspondent found that two of them, Rabiul Islam and Mujibor Rahman in Rajabari and sadar unions, had been out of urea since July 3.

Babar Ali, a farmer from Mathpara, said a 50-kg sack was being distributed among the farmers earlier, but since this Wednesday, Aus farmers have been receiving 10-kg urea coupons for each bigha of land.

Bulbul Hossain from Pirpur Sanapara said he was frantically looking around for fertiliser for Aus cultivation on 35 bighas of land. "I could not get a single kg of fertiliser. Rather, I was told that someone dropped my name [from the list]."

"We need 15 to 25 kg urea per bigha within 20 to 45 days after planting Aus," said Rabiul Islam from Govindapur, adding that it has been over a month since he planted Aus on his 21 bighas of land, but was yet to get any urea.

First class Magistrate Iqbal Hossain, who is currently overseeing the responsibilities of the UNO, told The Daily Star that 7,500 sacks of fertiliser has reached Nachole on Wednesday night in 30 trucks and their distribution has already been started.

Agriculture officials said 1,000 metric tons of urea is required for Aus and Aman cultivation in the upazila, but the demand has doubled as urea nowadays is being used for various other purposes including in mango orchards and for fish cultivation in ponds.

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