Md Mahabub Alam : About 69 thousand hectares of arable lands are turning into non-agricultural land every year throughout the country due to non-implementation of National Agricultural Policy-1999, says a survey report. Soil Resources Development Institute (SRDI), a government run research organisation, conducted the survey and unearthed this recently. The survey was conducted in different ways including through Satellite from Cosmos. It blamed unplanned urbanisation, setting up of mills, factories and housing on the cultivable land. It said that it was an appalling sign for the agriculture. It says, the country has been losing 68,760 hectares arable lands every year from 2000. Agriculturalist and Seed Expansion Foundation’s President Dr M A Sobhan said, the cultivable land must be protected if the government wanted to keep the country fulfillment in food production. On Thursday last, Agricultural Minister Begum Motia Chowdhury said in the Jatiya Sangsad, the country has 8.52 million hectares of arable lands. To protect the lands, the government has taken a project under the National Agricultural Policy. She said, the protection of farming land is greatly needed. SRDI says, the highest rate of decreasing of farming land is in Chittagong Division. It has lost 17,968 hectares. The second position belongs to Rajshahi Division for loss of 15,945 hectares. Besides, Dhaka has lost 15,131 hectares, Khulna 11,096 and Rangpur 8,781. The survey report says, 94,39,541 hectares farming land was estimated in 2000. But it has now been 87,51,937 hectares. It means the country has lost 6,87,604 hectors arable lands by this time. The total agricultural land is 1,33,03,654, which includes farming land, forest, river, bill-haor, fish and salt cultivation areas. The reports states, the land for salt cultivation is increasing. It has been 1,172 hectares. The three-phase housing has increased in the urban areas than the rural one. The acquisition of land for fish cultivation has increased. In 2000, 1,43,506 hectares land was under fish cultivation but it has become 1,75,663 hectares now, which is 1.21 per cent of the total land. Nazmul Hasan, Chief Scientist of SRDI said that the arable land is being reduced day by day due to rapid urbanisation, industrialisation, housing properties and others. If the government wants to confirm the food security for the people, it will have to protect the farming land, he said.