KATHMANDU, DECEMBER 13

Sugarcane farmers from Sarlahi have again started a protest in Kathmandu asking the government to help them recover their due payments from sugar mills. A total of 25 farmers from Sarlahi have reached Kathmandu to begin a protest from today. They have demanded the government to fulfil the commitment that it had made earlier.

After a week-long protest in December last year, the government had signed an agreement with the Sugarcane Farmer Struggle Committee on January 1 to recover their due payments within a month.

However, the commitment has not been fulfilled till date.

Thus, the farmers have again resorted to the protest programme, said the leader of the committee, Rakesh Mishra.

Back then the government had committed to recover their due payments by mid-December. However, no progress has been made yet, thus the farmers have been compelled to come to Kathmandu to protest, he added.

According to Mishra, the committee had met the minister for industry, commerce and supplies before the festive season. The minister had then made a commitment to recover their due payments. “However, the government only gives us false promises.”

Furthermore, committee is now preparing to take help from civil society, media and human rights activists, he informed.

Farmers claim sugar mills have to pay outstanding dues worth Rs 360 million to around 6,000 sugarcane farmers in Sarlahi district alone.

Overall, the sugar mills have still to pay more than Rs 520 million to the farmers. Of this total, Shree Ram Sugar Mills has to pay Rs 260 million, Indira Sugar Mill needs to clear Rs 47 million, Lumbini Sugar Mill has to pay Rs 84 million while Annapurna Sugar Mill has still to clear Rs 170 million, based on government data.