Arrest absconding mill operator: Govt

Kathmandu, December 31

The Ministry of Home Affairs has ordered Nepal Police to arrest a sugar mill operator who is allegedly absconding without clearing a large amount of dues to sugarcane farmers.

The MoHA said it directed Nepal Police Headquarters in writing to find the whereabouts of Rakesh Kumar Agrawal, operator of Annapurna Sugar and General Industries Pvt Ltd, and Indira Sugar and Agro Industries Pvt Ltd and produce him before the Industrial and Investment Promotion Division of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies at the earliest. The directive was issued last evening. The MoHA has termed Agrawal an absconder.

Minister of Agriculture and Livestock Development Ghanashyam Bhusal said Annapurna Sugar Mill owes sugarcane farmers around Rs 500 million, which he had not paid for the past three years.

The order of the MoHA comes in the wake of continuous protest from sugarcane farmers, who have come to the capital from across the country to pressure the government for the recovery of their hard-earned money.

Sugarcane farmers have been staging protest in Maitighar Mandala for the past few days, alleging that sugar mills, such as Annapurna and others, had not cleared around Rs 1.5 billion they owed farmers.

Earlier yesterday, Industry, Commerce, Labour and Consumer Interest Committee of the House of Representatives had also directed the government to address demands of sugarcane farmers without delay, while asking the MoHA to initiate action against sugar mill operators who had not cleared victims’ dues.

Deputy Inspector General Shailesh Thapa Kshetri, who is also a spokesperson for Nepal Police, said the security agency alerted the concerned police units to act as per the line ministry’s order. “We are not sure about the whereabouts of Agrawal, but we’ll arrest him within a few days if he has not left the country.”