Sugar mills fail to clear outstanding dues within govt deadline
KATHMANDU, JANUARY 18
The sugar mills have paid a total of Rs 480 million within the government’s deadline of 21 days.
According to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS), out of the total dues worth Rs 651.1 million, the sugar mills have paid only Rs 480 million despite the 21-day deadline given by the government.
The sugarcane farmers had halted their protests after 16 days on December 28 after reaching an agreement with the ministry whereby the government had assured the farmers to recover their payments within 21 days.
As per the ministry, out of its dues worth Rs 350 million, Shree Ram Sugar Mill has so far paid Rs 318.16 million to farmers. The mill has made a commitment to clear the remaining amount in the next few days. According to the ministry, the mill has already deposited the amount at the bank and the remaining amount will be cleared after ascertaining the money that each farmer is owed.
Similarly, Annapurna Sugar Mill has so far paid Rs 114.7 million out of Rs 170 million owed to the farmers.
Though it is yet to pay Rs 55.3 million, the mill has not said when the remaining dues will be paid. Meanwhile, Lumbini Sugar Mill has paid 50 per cent of the total due payment to the farmers. So far Lumbini Sugar Mill has deposited Rs 41.60 million in farmers’ accounts out of Rs 84.1 million in due payment.
Amid this, Indira Sugar Mill has not paid the dues to the sugarcane farmers even within the stipulated time of 21 days. As per the agreement, the ministry will now initiate action against the mills that have not come into contact to clear their due payments and will follow-up on the remaining payment, stated the ministry.
Manish Mishra, one of the farmers from the Farmer Struggle Committee, said that they are in regular contact with the ministry and the latter has requested them to stay calm for a few days. “The deadline has just ended and the government has said that they will follow-up with the mills.
The mills that have been paying the dues will be requested to clear the outstanding amount as soon as possible,” he said, adding, “The government has committed to seize the property of those mills that are not in contact.”
As the farmers are getting their payment gradually, Mishra expressed his hope that they will not have to come to Kathmandu to stage another protest again. After the government failed to fulfil its commitment made in January last year to recover the due payments of sugarcane farmers, farmers from different districts had again come to Kathmandu to start a fresh protest.
The Himalayan Times did try to contact the sugar mill owners to get their point of view but was unsuccessful as they did not respond to request for comment.