Rautahat farmers stage chakkajam

Rautahat, August 9

Agitating farmers of Madhav Narayan and Durga Bhagawati rural municipalities of Rautahat staged a chakkajam at the Gaur-Chandranigahapur road section for four hours today.

The farmers have been protesting, saying that toxic chemicals discharged from Jyoti Distillery damaged paddy crops cultivated in hundreds of bigaha of land in their localities.

Today’s transport strike was staged at Sukdevchowk of Madhav Narayan Rural Municipality demanding action against operators of Jyoti Distillery.

They have accused the distillery of draining toxic chemicals into Jhajhkhola when the stream was flooded. The contaminated water is said to have destroyed paddy crops in the two rural municipalities and also in some wards of Gaur Municipality.

Local farmer Shreeram Yadav said they were forced to take to the street as the local administration did not initiate any action even after they lodged a complaint with it regarding the issue.

Yadav, who is also a Nepali Congress District Working Committee member, charged that the  toxic chemicals from the distillery had spoiled their crops. Bigan Pandit, another farmer from Matsari, said he had cultivated paddy in 15 kathha of leased land, but now he had lost all his investment.

Mahendra Sah Rauniyar from Gangapipara said the water filled with toxic chemicals from the distillery destroyed his paddy cultivated in two bigaha  land. Matsari warned that they would stage a sterner protest if the guilty were not brought to book.

CPN-Maoist Centre’s local leader Shree Prasad Mukhiya accused the local administration of turning a deaf ear to the farmers’ demand. He warned that they would launch an indefinite transport strike if their demand was not addressed.

Chief District Officer of Rautahat Uddav Bahadur Thapa, however, said investigation into the case was under way. “Without the investigation report, how can we initiate action?” Thapa questioned. He pledged action against the distillery if it was found guilty.

District Agriculture Development Office, Rautahat Chief Raj Narayan Yadav said his office had collected samples of water and soil, and sent to the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology for test.