Defaulting sugar mills to face stern actionThe Home Ministry has promised stern action against sugar mills that have defaulted on payments to sugarcane farmers. The move follows a number of complaints from farmers and civil society.
The Home Ministry has promised stern action against sugar mills that have defaulted on payments to sugarcane farmers. The move follows a number of complaints from farmers and civil society.
The ministry has directed the chief district officer (CDO) to take stern action against those mills who failed to pay sugarcane farmers.
Everest Sugar Mill, however, did not heed the call made by the CDO on Wednesday.
Mahottari CDO Babu Ram Shrestha said they received the Home Ministry’s letter and acted promptly to make sugar mills to pay farmer’s dues. Sugarcane farmers had padlocked Everest Sugar Mill since last one month.
According to Shrestha, farmers and sugar mills representatives were invited for discussion to settle the issue on Wednesday. “However, no one from the sugar mill appeared,” said Shambhu Yadav, an officer at the district administration office. “We are preparing to take necessary action against the mill’s management as it did not heed the government’s orders.”
Everest Sugar Mill has settled only Rs441.5 million out of the total dues worth Rs2.22 billion owed to the farmers. Farmers said that they still have yet to receive Rs1.78 billion from the sugarcane mill for their crop supplied this year. Irate farmers of Mahottari have padlocked the entrances, administrative block and production plant of the mill.
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. The delayed payment is reported to have affected around 25,000 farmers in Mahottari, Dhanusha, Sarlahi and Rautahat. However, Everest Sugar Mill has been blaming the government’s policy behind the cause. According the factory, it is unable to clear the farmer’s dues as they have not been able to sell their sugar and pay the farmers as the government has allowed importing sugar from India.
Bidhyananda Yadav, a farmer from Gaushala Municipality, said the delayed payment has compelled the farmers to undergo the excess burden of banks debt. Ram Chandra Singh Kushwaha, member of National Cooperative Board, said the government needs to install sugar mills through cooperative to solve out the present problem.