Ramesh Lamsal and Ashok Ghimire, KATHMANDU: Sitaram Mahato, 60, from Sarlahi district is one among the sugarcane farmers visiting the federal capital Kathmandu in a bid to get his problem heard- he wants to share the plight that he and his friends are not paid for long by the sugar mills for their produce.
It has been nearly two weeks the sugarcane farmers have been agitating at Maitighar Mandala to put pressure on the central capital of country, Singha Durbar. But no government agency has ever approached them to hear their problems. “Sugar mill has not paid Rs 55,000- accumulated over three years- to me. Now, I question government: Can I give the sugarcane I produced to the sugar mill or not,” he shared before media.
According to him, the proprietor of sugar mill closed industry and left the district. Tracking his industry’s office, he reached Kalimati, Kathmandu, and found a staff. The staff closed office in Kalimati too, knowing their visit.
Mahato is currently staying with his friend, who collects scraps.
Jitan Yadav, 40, from Hariwan of Sarlhai has similar problem. He said, “We arrived in Kathmandu hoping that the people in position listen to them, but none is paying attention to us.” He also mentioned the problem he faced in getting payment by Shriram Sugar Mill.
He also shared the plight whether he would harvest the sugar this time or not. Mahato and Yadav now have planned not to cultivate sugar.
Moreover, Annapurna Sugar Mill and Mahalaxmi Sugar Mill have not paid the farmers for ten years. The farmers have been agitating for three years by forming a struggle committee.
Maya Shankar Yadav from Ramnagar rural municipality informed that as many as 5,000 sugarcane farmers are deprived of payment- some Rs 810 million. So the struggle committee was formed, he added.
Too a sheer indifference to such pressing problem, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supply has said the sugar mill owners were not found. Minister for Industry Lekhraj Bhatta said it had been difficult to find the mill owners.
Even the lawmakers raised question over the non-payment to the farmers. The Industry and Commerce, and Labour and Consumers’ Rights Committee under the House of Representatives also directed the government to immediately address the problem facing the sugarcane farmers.
Meanwhile, students and artists chanted slogans demanding justice to the sugarcane farmers at Maitighar Mandala on Tuesday. RSS
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