Though illegal, these brick kilns go unabated


Ishwardi (Pabna) Correspondent :

More than half a hundred illegal brick kilns have been built in Lakshikunda Union of Ishwardi. Hundreds of bighas of agricultural land are being destroyed due to these brick kilns. Fertility of the land is decreasing due to cutting the soil of the crop land. Crop production is decreasing with environmental damage. Deforestation of agricultural land, burning of wood in kilns, violation of regulations and environmental imbalance are being done year after year without any consideration. The owners of the kilns are continuing to burn bricks by showing their power and managing it without the permission of the Department of Environment, license to burn bricks, fire service certificate, income tax certificate and so on.
These illegal brick kilns are sometimes raided in the presence of magistrate, police and RAB. Actions are limited to collection of fines. Even though this situation continued for a long time, the brick kiln was restarted due to unknown reasons, but it was not closed.
Roads in that union and neighboring Sahapur union are in poor condition due to the transportation of bricks. Residents have complained that they are facing extreme hardship due to the collapse of the road. Meanwhile, owners of illegal brick kilns are trying to get legalization through VAT. The issue of VAT collection from land papers, environmental clearances, trade licenses, and illegal establishments established without the permission of the administration is questionable.
It is known that the topsoil of agricultural land is the source of brick kilns. Due to which hundreds of acres of land are falling and the agriculture sector is suffering. These illegal brick kilns have been set up in Lakshikunda on government private land and private land as well. Locals said that the distance from Ishwardi Sadar to Lakshikunda Union is about 15 km. The Padmanadi is next to it. Known as remote and isolated area. Kiln owners benefited from the cheap availability of brick-making clay and firewood around the kilns.
Upazila Agriculture Officer Agriculturist Mita Sarkar said that the construction of numerous brick kilns in Lakshikunda union is causing damage to the agricultural land of the union. Due to the black smoke and ash of the wood, as well as vegetables, mango, litchi, jackfruit trees are being damaged, it is also adversely affecting the natural environment. Normal public life is increasingly under threat due to the effects of pollution. This activity needs to be stopped immediately.
Customs revenue officer Mohammad Zakir Hossain said, “It is not our responsibility to see the valid documents of the brickyard.” Before this, VAT was not collected from brick kilns. We are collecting VAT within many limitations.
Ishwardi Upazila Nirbahi Officer Subir Kumar Dash said that brick kilns have been built on privately owned and government land in Lakshikunda Union. These are under review. Legal action will be taken against anyone who has built a brick kiln on government land.
It will also be seen whether privately owned brick kilns are running with the permission of the district administration and environment department. If they are operating the brick kiln irregularly then they will not be exempted either.
Advocate Nazmul Hossain, an officer of Environment Department Pabna office, did not answer the call.