Sugarcane farmers agree to withdraw protest
KATHMANDU, DECEMBER 28
After 16 days sugarcane farmers have finally agreed to withdraw their protests.
During a meeting held today at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, the sugarcane farmers signed a four-point agreement with the government.
As per the agreement, the government will recover the farmers’ remaining due payment within 21 days, said Urmila KC, information officer of the ministry.
“The ministry has made a commitment to recover the due payment within 21 days.
If the mills do not clear their payments, the ministry will withhold the assets of all the mills and take necessary measures to provide money to the farmers,” she said.
Similarly, the meeting has also formed a study committee to examine and sort out the issues between mills and farmers in the long term.
According to KC, the committee will investigate the misuse of the subsidy allocated for the farmers, the subsidy of the sugar mills, and the purchase of sugarcane at less than the price fixed by the government.
It has been agreed that the committee will include a representative each from the Industry Ministry, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, and Ministry of Finance and sugar mill operators.
Meanwhile, there will be two representatives from the Federation of Sugarcane Producers’ Association and two representatives from the Sugarcane Farmers Struggle Committee in the study committee.
The meeting has directed the committee to submit its report with a long-term solution within 120 days.
Farmers from Sarlahi, Rautahat and other districts had been protesting in Kathmandu since the last 16 days, urging the government to help them get their dues from sugar mills.
After a week-long protest in December last year, the government had signed an agreement with the Sugarcane Farmers Struggle Committee on January 1 to recover their due payments within a month.
Citing the coronavirus pandemic that had started sweeping across the world back then, the government had later said it would help recover the payments of the farmers by mid-December.
However, after the government failed to fulfil its commitment, the farmers had again resorted to the protest programme.