MD. Delowar Hossain:
Date palm trees have a close relationship with winter. In winter, sweet juice, jaggery is obtained from the traditional date palm trees of rural Bengal. In Shibchar Upazila of Madaripur district, even a decade ago, in the winter mornings, you could see juice trees and date palm trees. As soon as the winter season started, house to house was used to prepare pita festivals with date juice.
However, this scene in rural Bengal is not so visible anymore. The main reason for this is the killing of date palm trees due to various reasons. Day by day the date palm trees are decreasing in Shibchar.
According to Upazila Agricultural Extension Office sources, date palm trees in Shibchar are decreasing day by day but they have not disappeared. Date juice is still in demand as it is an essential ingredient for flavoring and pita festivals. However, date palm juice and molasses are not available as before. Even if you get it, you have to buy it at a price 5-10 times higher than before.
Abul Molla of Upazila Baheratala South Union said that I still can’t forget eating raw juice pies. Our grandchildren don’t get to eat that milk Citsi pitha, puli-pais anymore. Even so, they have to give something. So juice, gur, pita festivals are prepared from the number of date palm trees.
Zarina Begum of Beheratala South Union of the upazila said that the number of trees has decreased a lot. Once upon a time Shibchar Upazila was famous for date palm juice. Now the number of trees has also decreased as the trees have decreased. As a result, the naturally delicious juice is no longer available. Still trying to maintain the lost tradition by taking care of a few trees.
Gachi Noor Islam Madbar said that due to the decrease in date palm trees, their demand has also decreased. Earlier, he used to manage his family well by doing this work. Even the income that was earned before would have been saved, with which the household expenses could be maintained for a few more months of the year.
Bakhar Kandi Adarsh High School Headmaster Mohammad Sakhawat Hossain said that at the current rate of date palm trees are disappearing, there may be no date palm trees in our area. If we want to maintain this tradition, we should all plant more date palm trees and grow them as much as possible. If we want to preserve our tradition of thousands of years then we should all come forward in this work.
Journalist Abul Khair Khan said that many people are selling date palm trees to brick kilns. By this the number of trees is decreasing. Until the unplanned brick kilns are closed, date palm trees will continue to decline. If date palm trees are planted on both sides of the government road, then the government can earn a lot of revenue by selling date molasses every year and this initiative should be taken by the government.
Shibchar Upazila Agriculture Officer Rafiqul Islam said that due to various reasons including river erosion, use as fuel, non-planting of new saplings in Shibchar, date trees have decreased a lot. We are giving various tips for collecting sap from plants. Date palm trees do not cause any kind of damage to crops. There is no additional cost for this tree. Anyone can plant anywhere near the house.