RAUTAHAT, April 17: Failure of the Garuda-based Shreeram Sugar Mill to release payment has outraged local sugarcane farmers.
The mill, which had promised to release payment within a week of procurement, has yet to pay farmers even though it has already been two months since the crushing season concluded. The mill is still to release Rs 290 million to local farmers for sugarcane procured in the current and last fiscal year. The mill, which started crushing from December last year, owes farmers to Rs 50 million for sugarcane procurement made in the current fiscal year.
“The mill provided some amount in advance while procuring sugarcane, making commitment to release full payment within a week. But it has showed utter disregard to farmers,” Ashok Yadav, the president of Sugarcane Producers' Association of Rautahat, told Republica.
Local farmers say the mill owes them Rs 180 million for sugarcane purchase made in 2015/16.
Ramdev Raut, a farmer of Gamhariya, said the mill concluded rushing for the season without releasing payment to farmers. “It mill has not released money as per its commitment. It owes me Rs 200,000,” he said, adding that the mill has put local farmers in big trouble.
Meanwhile, the association has obstructed distribution of sugar, demanding that the mill pay farmers first. “We have taken under our control the warehouse having sugar worth Rs 130 million. We will not release sugar unless the management of the mill assures to release our payment,” added Yadav.
Similarly, Manoj Kumar Sahani, the treasurer of the association, said that the association will continue to take needful initiative for releasing payment of farmers at the earliest.
“The promoters of the mill -- Hitesh Golcha and Bishal Agarwal -- are not trying to understand the plight of sugarcane farmers. They have put the farmers in big trouble,” added Sahani.
Local farmers, however, are delighted as sugar mills in Bara and Sarlahi have already released their payments. Similarly, local jaggery mill has also paid farmers.