Farmers padlock sugar mill in Mahottari

- RABINDRA UPRETI, MAHOTTARI

May 23, 2018-

Sugarcane famers of Mahottari district have intensified their protest against Everest Sugar Mill demanding payment for their crop. The protest was held after the mill failed to release the payment of around Rs1.78 billion to sugarcane farmers, who had supplied the crop this year.

The farmers on Sunday padlocked the entrances, administrative block and production plant of the mill. Naresh Singh Kushwaha, president of Sugarcane Producers Association, Mahottari said farmers were compelled to launch the protest after the sugar mill denied payment for farmers who depend on the income to feed their families.

According to him, farmers sold 426,000 tonnes of the cane worth Rs2.22 billion to the factory this year.

“The mill, however, made the payment for 340,000 tonnes of sugarcane worth Rs1.78 billion only,” Kushwaha said.

Farmers have been demanding the payment as per a tripartite agreement signed among the Federation of Sugarcane Producers Association, mills owner and the government’s authority last year.

As per the agreement, sugar mills have to clear the dues to the farmers in 30-45 days of sugarcane transaction.  Kushwaha said Everest Sugar Mill did not clear the farmer’s dues even after 127 days of purchasing sugarcane from the farmers.

“It has affected around 25,000 farmers in Mahottari, Dhanusha, Sarlahi and Rautahat.” Maha Shankar Thing, central committee member of the federation, said the sugar factory has been reluctant to provide the invoice of the sugarcane purchase to farmers.

Farmers have warned the mill management that they would be forced to launch stern protest if it failed to clear their dues.

Farmers also expressed their grievances for being unable to settle their other financial liabilities with the delay in receiving payments from the sugar factory.

“We are unable to go for other work,” said Manu Adhikari, a farmer from Gaushala-9, Bharatpur.

Everest Sugar Mill General Manager Yugal Kishore Chaurasiya said they have not been able to sell their sugar and pay the farmers

as the government has allowed importing sugar from India.

“The import of sugar from India has affected the local market. As a result, we have been unable to sell our sugar and pay the farmers,” Chaurasiya said.

He said that they have withdrawn Rs550 million from Nepal Bank and Rastriya Banijya Bank by keeping sugar as collateral to pay the farmers. “As we were unable to sell sugar, we are not able to make the remaining payment for the farmers.”

Published: 23-05-2018 08:13

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