Farmers fail to receive their money within the new deadline given by the government
KATHMANDU, Jan 20: Sugarcane farmers have once again been ‘tricked’ by the government and sugar mills, as the farmers failed to receive full payments for sugarcane bought by the mills over the past several years, within the new deadline set by the state organ.
On December 28, last year, a deal was struck between the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies and the Sugarcane Farmer Struggle Committee in which the ministry expressed its assurance to make the sugar mills clear all the dues of the farmers in 21 days. The deadline ended on Tuesday. In the deal to lure the farmers, the ministry had even said that it would take into liquidation the fixed property of those mills that refuse to pay the farmers.
The ministry’s records show that the mills paid Rs 430 million to the farmers in the past three weeks after the deal was signed and Rs 220 million is yet to be paid to the farmers. But, according to the farmers, they have not received the money as claimed by the ministry.
Hari Shyam Raya, secretary of the farmers’ struggle committee, said they have once again been tricked by the government and the sugar mills as they are yet to receive over half a billion rupees. According to him, the farmers are considering launching protests again.
Of the four mills that are yet to clear the farmers’ dues, Shreeram Sugar Mill has recently paid the entire amount to the cane farmers. Of the remaining three mills, Lumbini Sugar Mill has paid Rs 41.60 million and is yet to clear dues worth Rs 42.50 million.
Annapurna Sugar Mill is said to have sent Rs 112.70 million to the farmers’ bank account whereas it has not paid Rs 57.30 million. Likewise, Indira Sugar Mill has paid Rs 15 million and is yet to pay Rs 32 million.
Last year too, the farmers had relied on the words of the government officials to receive full payments for their produce, which had not been materialized in reality. Farmers blamed the government officials for making an alliance with the operators of sugar mills to ‘loot’ the farmers time and again.