GOLAKGANJ, Oct 19 � The brick industry surrounding Dhubri district has been posing severe environmental problems. The drastic increase in the pollution level has affected most of the agricultural land nearby. More than 1,000 areas of prime agricultural land are being lost annually to accommodate the brick-making industry.
The soil which is very fertile in this area is used in the building units as is to be found in abundance in the plains. And it is mercilessly exploited. The underground fire in the kiln reduces the surrounding soil moisture and unplanned hacking of the land alters the drainage pattern of the area. The effect of all this on agriculture is disastrous. The vast stretch of once green agricultural land, portions of which have been dug away, is creating a sudden interference in the cropping pattern. Against this backdrop stands a jet-black chimney spewing black smoke. Stacks of bricks remain piled everywhere. This is the sight that meets the eye of the traveller journeying past Bally, or driving down the national highway through Gauripur, Chapar and Bilasipara in Dhubri district.
A little way off, rectangular pieces of mud are �baked� into red bricks. This is no small industry. Today the largest number of kilns are found in Dhubri district. In addition, there are a large number of kilns in Bilasipara, Chapar and Gauripur also. Since ancient times, Dhubri district was famous for its excellent soil and high crop yield. Now Dhubri has at least 250 kilns. In fact even Asharikandi has 19 kilns extending over an area of 2,000 bighas of the aforementioned agricultural land.
In Dhubri rural poverty has reached phenomenal dimensions. The brick kiln owners are powerful enough to buy out the last pieces of fertile land from half-fed farmers. Meanwhile, the land dug up is naturally deeper than the surrounding paddy fields. During monsoon, the water from the rice fields drains off into the lowlying land. Standing water is a must for paddy, so this altered drainage pattern plays havoc with rice production. To add to the farmers� woes is the ash (burntmud) from the nearby kilns, which affects soil fertility. The fire from the kilns absorbs soil moisture. Besides, the enormous heat generated underground is bound to alter the chemical composition deeper below. This is going to change soil character in Dhubri.
Putul Chandra Roy Prodhani, advisor to Dhubri district AASU, while talking to mediapersons informed that the organisation on behalf of the local people has demanded of the Deputy Commissioner of Dhubri to ensure necessary action and compensation to the farmers affected by the industry.