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Swollen Atryee takes away crop, bridges

The landless farmers, mainly from Paranpur, Pagliganj, Patiram and Kumarganj, use the river banks for cultivation in the summer season in South Dinajpur.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

A sudden rise in the water level in the Atryee river has damaged seasonal crop cultivated along the river bed and washed away a temporary bamboo bridge in the Raghunathpur area, while also partly damaging two other bridges in Balurghat. Hundreds of farmers who had cultivated seasonal crops have faced losses.

More than 20 villages under the Chakvrigue and Bwaldar gram panchayats have lost connectivity through short cut routes with Balurghat.

It is learnt that the water level had been rising for the past three days, following continuous rainfall in the hills and the alleged opening of the reservoir in Bangladesh over the Atryee river.

The landless farmers, mainly from Paranpur, Pagliganj, Patiram and Kumarganj, use the river banks for cultivation in the summer season in South Dinajpur. They usually cultivate watermelon, gourds, cucumber as seasonal crops. Farmers use the river banks as agriculture land and they use the river water for irrigation. The season of watermelon is almost over, but hundreds of cucumber fields, have been washed away now

“This is unexpected. In mid-June, the river usually remains dry and this is why we cultivated cucumber and other crops on the river banks. This is not only because of the rainfall in the hills, but Bangladesh has also opened the rubber dam at Fulbari area,” said Prasanta Sarkar, one of the farmers of Paranpur area. On the other hand, the temporary bamboo bridges in Pagliganj and Raghunathpur have been washed away by the swollen river, and the bridge at Dangji has been partly damaged. In summers, the local people put up these bamboo bridges for easy travel to Balurghat town. In the rainy season, the local boat owners use boats as a means of transport.

“This year, the water level suddenly rose and more than 20 villages are cut off from Balurghat,” sources said.

Subal Haldar, a boat-owner, said, “The water level started to rise in the river for the first time on Sunday evening. But it was not expected that the level would damage the bridges. From Monday evening, transport through those temporary bridges has been stopped.”