Hit by low prices, cane farmers rue local taxesSugarcane farmers, already hit hard by low prices, have been forced to pay different fees at half dozen places in Parsa and Bara while delivering their produce to Manharwa-based Reliance Sugar Mill.
Sugarcane farmers, already hit hard by low prices, have been forced to pay different fees at half dozen places in Parsa and Bara while delivering their produce to Manharwa-based Reliance Sugar Mill.
District Development Committees (DDCs) of both the districts and municipalities have been charging the fees by placing barricades along the road.
“Fuel shortage has already made it difficult for us to deliver sugarcane to the mill. These charges along the road have added to our woes,” said Secretary at Parsa District Sugarcane Farmers’ Struggle Committee Prithvi Sah Kanu. He added the police turned a deaf ear despite their repeated complaints about the high-handedness of those deployed to collect fees.
Superintendent of Police Raju Babu Shrestha expressed his commitment of taking action against anybody charging taxes illegally. “If the farmers file complaints, we will definitely take action,” he said.
Sugarcane farmers have to pay vehicle tax at Parsa’s Gardaul while transporting their produce through Birgunj and Kalaiya. Sah said the collectors were charging Rs50, but issuing receipt of Rs17 per tractor.
According to the farmers, they also have to pay Rs30 at Birgunj’s Bindabasini, which is charged in the name of temporary market and mobile shop tax. They are force to pay additional Rs20 at Sisahaniya before reaching Kalaiya, and Rs25 while exiting from Audhapur in the name of vehicle tax.Another fee named “Pithiya Tax” is imposed at Alau and Shreepur where the municipality has placed a barricade. Kanu said forcing the poor farmers to pay the taxes was injustice. “This must end,” he said.Currently, 100-150 trucks and tractors deliver sugarcane everyday to Reliance Sugar Mill from rural areas of Parsa. Farmers have cultivated sugarcane on 2200 hectares of land. They have so far delivered 40 percent of their produce.