Another Santal farmer, who had been under treatment after he and his cousin took poison in protest against a delayed supply of irrigation water in their paddy fields at Godagari Upazila in Rajshahi on Wednesday last, died at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital on Friday night.
Rabi Mardi( 27) son of Goyanath Mardi of Nimghutu village under Godagari upazila died at 8:15 pm on Friday at the Hospital, informed RMCH Director Brig Gen Shamim Yazdani.
Rabi died two days after his cousin Abhinath Mardi ( 30) son of Babu Chand Mardi of the same village, died as both brothers took pesticide near a deep tube well operated by Barind Multipurpose Development Authority at Iswaripur village on Wednesday as the tube well operator refused to supply water for irrigation in their paddy fields.
In connection with the incidents, deceased Abhinath Mardi’s wife Rozina Hembrom, mother of two sons – aged six and ten years respectively - filed a provocation case against the BMDA deep tube well operator Sakhawat Hossain with Godagari Police Station on Friday night.
In the case statement, Rozina Hembrom alleged that her husband planted paddy seedlings on one and a half bighas of his family land. She mentioned, her husband and his brother were visiting BMDA deep tube well operator Shakhawat Hossain, also President of a ward unit of Krishak League under Deopara union, for the last twelve days to supply him water to irrigate his dried up paddy field in Iswaripur, but the operator did not pay any heed to their plea.
Rozina Hembrom alleged that her husband went to the operator Shakhawat Hossain repeatedly and again on Wednesday afternoon as their lands dried up and began to fade but the latter denied to supply water in the field.
Being rejected, her husband and brother-in-law Rabi told Shakhawat that they would die by taking pesticide if their fields were not watered. Instead of irrigating the paddy field, Shakawat told her husband and Rabi to take pesticide, she mentioned in the case statement.
Abhinath died at his home at around 9 pm on Wednesday while Rabi was admitted to RMCH.
Rozina Hembrom said on Saturday noon that she wants justice for the death of her husband and brother-in-law.
Meanwhile, BMDA formed a three-member probe body headed by Superintending Engineer Nazirul Islam to investigate into the incidents of death of two farmers.
Nazirul Islam, who visited the Nimghutu village and the deep tube well site where the farmers drank pesticide on Sunday, that he would submit the report soon.
Talking to the journalists, several farmers alleged that operator Sakhawat Hossain did not maintain the serial for irrigating their land.
Sakhawat did not supply water to one Habib Murmu even several days after the plantation So, he had to purchase water from a nearby tube well for Tk 110 for one hour, alleged farmer Habib Murmu.
Another farmer Durbin Tudu told that he wanted to cultivate boro paddy on his land but due to
alien behavior of operator Shakhawat, he did not dare to cultivate paddy there.
Amir Hasda, a seventy-year-old farmer, told that the santal
community people had long been harassed by the BMDA operators in irrigating their lands, resulting in a poor yield.
He said that boro paddy was cultivated in nearly 400 bigas of land with the water of the deep tube well but the capacity of the tube well is not sufficient enough to cover all those land.
However, the deep tube well operator Shakhawat claimed on Thursday that 260 bighas of boro paddy are cultivated under his deep tube well.
When contacted, BMDA additional Chief Engineer Shamsul Huda informed the capacity of a pump at the deep tube well was to cover 30-40 acres of land.
He added, BMDA always recommends to supply water around 30 to 40 acres of land under a deep tube well but often the farmers put pressure on the operators to supply water to irrigate more land.
BMDA sources said there are 16,000 deep tube-wells in operation in Rajshahi and Rangpur divisions and it was not possible for them to supervise each of those personally.