BANGLADESH'S second largest waterbody, Beel Dakatia, once a 31,566-ha tract of flourishing agricultural land and balanced ecology, has been flooded with brackish water for the past decade. A dyke built to contain the 24-km-long and 16-km-wide waterbody, as part of an ambitious coastal embankment project, is to blame for choking its drainage system and increasing brackishness. The rich flora and fauna in the region has also been destroyed.
This has affected half a million small-scale farmers and agricultural labourers, who had been attracted to the area soon after the dyke was built by promises of higher productivity.
Reports also blame the faulty construction led to the silting of drainage channels, compounded by the outlet mechanism of the sluice gates failing because of lack of maintenance.