A ban on tractor and tractor-run vehicles on inter-district roads has led both farmers and tractor labourers to face crisis in the Northern region.
Farm Labour Association made a request to the government to allow tractor-run vehicles on the inter-district roads and highways and a timeframe of one year for registration of the tractors and driving license for their drivers.They also requested to issue a token system through local administration for the tractors which will allow them to run the cultivating vehicle for a specific work area or upazila during the intermediate period.
The tractor had been used for 97 percent paddy land cultivation, 42 percent potato land cultivation, 22 percent jute cultivation, 16 percent corn land cultivation, 13 percent wheat cultivation, 11 percent nut land cultivation, 6 percent soybean land cultivation and 4 percent mustard land cultivation, according to a government statistic.
Abdul Majid, a farmer from Rangpur Sadar district, said he owned a tractor that was used to cultivate his land and also the land of other farmers.
“Sometimes I had to go to district areas with my tractor for refueling and sometimes cross district roads to cultivate other farmers land,” he said, adding that due to the ban on tractors on inter-district roads, such activities have come to an end.
Sometimes they have to pay bribe to the authorities concerned to cross the inter-district roads, he claimed.
“Due to the ban, our tractors are hardly being used and we are sitting idle, thus becoming unemployed.”Last month, a tractor was burned by the local administration at Malonda upazila of Khetlal upazila in Joypurhat. The tractor was owned by farmer Shamsul Huda Bakul in Manikpara village under the upazila. For this, farmers in the area have stopped cultivating land with tractors due to fear. In the wake of the crisis, farmers in the Northern region are not buying tractors for land cultivation that is also affecting the government current initiative of farm mechanization.
Tractor traders said their sale has declined by 55 percent, as they are not selling tractors in 16 northern districts.
Engineer Sadid Jamil, Managing Director, Metal Private Limited, said October-December is the main sale period of tractors but no tractor has been sold in the northern region.
“If there is any problem involving tractor, the government should solve it as early as possible,” he said.
If the tractor sector faces crisis, farm mechanization would be hampered.
There are some 50,000 tractors in operation in the country, according to Agricultural Tractor Association of Bangladesh.