Kathmandu, December 29
Cane farmers from across the country have gathered in Kathmandu and have been staging protests against the delayed payment of outstanding dues from sugar mills.
Organising a protest event in Maitighar today, farmers said that they were compelled to start the protests as sugar mills were reluctant to issue almost Rs 1.5 billion pending dues to farmers.
Farmers who had been staging protests in their respective districts against the delayed payment for their produce have shifted their protest movement to the Capital this time citing that the government was reluctant to address farmers’ concerns.
“The crushing of new sugarcane is soon to start. However, sugar mills have not cleared the payment for last year’s cane to farmers. We were forced to launch protests in Kathmandu as the government is doing nothing to ensure that farmers get their payments on time,” informed Kapil Muni Mainali, president of Nepal Sugarcane Producers Federation.
According to him, farmers who number in the thousands are tired of visiting different sugar mills and government offices seeking payments of their products. As their concerns remain unaddressed, farmers not only staged a protest in Maitighar today but also organised a sit-in programme in front of Singha Durbar to pressurise the government.
Farmers have claimed that different sugar mills have not released Rs 1.34 billion to farmers.
Among the various sugar mills, Annapurna Sugar Mill has yet to issue payment worth Rs 50 million. This particular sugar mill, according to farmers, has not issued regular payments of cane for the last five years. Similarly, Sri Ram Sugar Mill has not paid almost Rs 420 million to cane farmers since the last three years.
The Sarlahi-based Maha Laxmi Sugar Mill too has been delaying payments worth Rs 210 million to farmers since one year. Likewise, Mainali informed that three Nawalparasi-based sugar factories — Indira Sugar Mill, Bagmati Sugar Mill and Lumbini Sugar Mill — have not cleared Rs 210 million to cane farmers.
As these sugar mills had been delaying in issuing payments to farmers, the farmers had recently locked down Indira Sugar Mill.
“If farmers do not get their outstanding payments from sugar mills, we will be compelled to launch further protest programmes,” added Mainali.