Sugarcane farmers have announced additional protest programs yet again after the government failed to meet its agreement of facilitating the former’s due payments by sugarmill owners.
Sugarcane farmers have not received all the dues within the promised time frame.
The farmers have announced a phased agitation stating that sugar mill owners had not cleared their arrears as per the agreement reached with the government for the second time.
The Farmers’ Struggle Committee issued a statement on Thursday announcing fresh protest programs. The committee has stated that it will run ‘Farmers Awareness Campaign’ from January 23 to February 19, work in the fields with black headbands from Feb 20 to Feb 26 and work in the fields from Feb 27 to March 5 by eating only one meal a day.
Secretary of the Struggle Committee Harishyam Raya said that they would declare third phase of their agitation if mill owners fail to clear dues within this period.
According to the Ministry of Industry, various sugar mill owners have paid the farmers Rs 573 million as of January 19.
The Ministry added that the government had already received the remaining due amount of Rs 81 million from industrialists, so the farmers will soon be provided with the sum.
However, farmers are not satisfied with the Ministry’s assurance. The Struggle Committee has demanded the Ministry to make the details of payment made to the farmers public.
“On the one hand, the Ministry could not make all the payments within the time limit. On the other hand, no details have been given as which farmers have been paid by the industrialists and how much they have received,” read a statement issued by the Sugarcane Farmers’ Struggle Committee, Sarlahi.
“Farmers are not convinced with the vague information regarding due clearance provided by the Industry Ministry. Our agitation for justice will continue until credible details of the entire amount deposited to farmers ‘accounts are made public.”
After 16 days of agitation amid the bone-chilling cold of Kathmandu, a four-point agreement was reached between the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies and the Sugarcane Farmers’ Struggle Committee on December 28 to facilitate clearance the latter’s arrears within 21 days.