Nepal | January 17, 2021

Sugarcane farmers yet to recover due payments

Himalayan News Service
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KATHMANDU, JANUARY 11

Even though two weeks have passed since the sugarcane farmers inked an agreement with the government to end their protest, they are still struggling to get their dues cleared.

The government and Sugarcane Farmers Struggle Committee had reached an agreement that their dues would be cleared within 21 days and that the farmers would end their protest.

However, except for two sugar mills, others have stopped transferring money to farmers’ accounts after they halted their protest on December 28 after almost three weeks.

Basically ignoring the government’s direction to clear all outstanding dues of the farmers within the given 21 days, a few industries have again gone out of contact.

As per the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, Annapurna Sugar Mills and Indira Sugar Mills have stopped clearing their dues to the farmers. Earlier, Annapurna Sugar Mills had committed to deposit Rs 10 million per day to the farmers’ account.

However, Annapurna Sugar Mills has so far paid only Rs 50 million out of Rs 220 million it owed, while Indira Sugar Mills has cleared just Rs three million out of Rs 50 million in due payment, said Manish Mishra, one of the sugarcane farmers from the struggle committee.

“The day after the death of one of our friends, Rs 160 million was paid at once, but since then, Annapurna and Indira Sugar mills have gone out of contact,” he said, “Shree Ram Sugar Mills is paying in instalments.”

Meanwhile, Lumbini Sugar Mill has also started paying farmers after the government took action against its owner. According to the ministry, Lumbini Sugar Mills has Rs 80 million in due payment to the farmers, of which it has paid Rs 13.6 million so far.

Meanwhile, Shree Ram Sugar Mills has paid Rs 260 million so far out of its total dues worth Rs 330 million.

The ministry has said that as per the agreement, it will wait and watch till 21 days. And if the sugar mills don’t clear their due payment to the farmers till the given time period, the government will seize their property and pay the farmers.

For the past five years, sugarcane farmers have been struggling to get their payment. After staging back-toback protests, the government finally took strict action in this case. Due to this situation the farmers say that the sugarcane farming and production is declining each passing year.

 


A version of this article appears in print on January 12, 2021 of The Himalayan Times.


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