Following a week-long protest by sugarcane farmers at Maitighar Mandala of Kathmandu demanding the sugar mills to pay their dues worth millions, some sugar mill owners have started paying the arrears in installments.
Agitating farmers, however, are committed to continuing their protest until they are paid in full sum.
“We have been deceived many times by the government and the sugar mill owners. Though some sugar mills have started to deposit our payments in installments we will continue our peaceful agitation until the dues are cleared,” said Harishyam Raya, secretary of the Sugarcane Farmers’ Struggle Committee, Sarlahi.
Though Shri Ram Sugar Mill, issuing a press release, claimed that it had instructed its bank to deposit Rs 53 million in farmers’ accounts on December 20, farmers said they had not received the amount.
Annapurna Sugar Mill has also issued an official notice stating that it had started clearing the arrears from December 20.
“We have paid Rs 180 million to the farmers in the last one year. Now, we will deposit remaining payments to the farmers’ accounts in installments at the rate of Rs 10 million per day. We will clear the dues as soon as possible,” the notice reads.
Raya informed that they had received only some money from Annapurna Sugar Mill. “Farmers who should be paid Rs 588,000 have received only Rs 82,000 and those supposed to get Rs 400,000 have received only Rs 36,000,” he said.
“Farmers have received only some part of their payment as of yet.”
Meanwhile, agitating farmers and Lumbini Sugar Mill have signed an agreement which says that the mill will clear all its dues within January 14. “As the agitating farmers and the mill have reached an agreement, the struggle committee has not interfered in the matter,” said Raya.
Minister of State for Industry, Commerce and Supplies, Motilal Dugad, claimed that the farmers’ woes would come to an end within a week.
“Industries have started to pay the farmers. Shri Ram Mill has stated that all dues will be cleared in a day or two and since Annapurna Mill has sold all its sugar, it will also clear the arrears soon,” he said adding, “Now all problems will be solved within a week.”
Agitating farmers, however, are not hopeful of receiving their payment within a week. While staging protests in Maitighar amid the bone-chilling cold of Kathmandu, farmers have also been simultaneously participating in dialogue with government authorities and sugar mill owners.
According to Raya, a discussion was held between Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and farmers’ representatives on Sunday and government officials had urged them to halt their agitation.