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Another agitation results in another betrayal for Nepal sugarcane farmers

Sugarcane farmers demonstrate in Kathmandu, demanding outstanding payments, in December 2020.

Kathmandu, January 19

Sugarcane farmers from different districts of southern Nepal who were protesting in Kathmandu in December last year demanding outstanding payments from sugarcane mills have said they have been again betrayed by the government.

On December 28, they had ended the protests after signing an agreement with the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies. In the agreement, the government had ensured the payment from the mills in the next 21 days.

The deadline ended on Monday, but all payments have not been cleared yet, informs Rakesh Mishra, a leader of the farmers from Sarlahi.

The government, however, is spreading a message that all the payments have been done based on the details submitted by the industrialists, Hari Shyam Raya, another leader of the agitating farmers, complains.

“When we ask the ministry, it says all the payments have been ensured, but three weeks passed and we have not received all the money in our accounts,” Mishra says, “The government lied to us once again.”

Demanding that the government and sugar mills implement a January 2020 deal, which was quite similar to the agreement made in December 2020, signed with them, sugarcane farmers from various districts of southern Nepal had launched a protest in Kathmandu on December 13, 2020.

Progress is ‘satisfactory’: Government

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Home Affairs says the progress of clearing the payments is satisfactory. As of Monday evening, 73 per cent of the remaining payments have been deposited into the farmers’ bank accounts, informs the ministry’s Information Officer Prem Lal Lamichhane.

Four companies had to pay Rs 705.8 million to the farmers when the protest started, but by now, Rs 513.8 million has already been paid, according to him. Efforts are underway to release the remaining payments, he assures.

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Nabin Dhungana is a business correspondent at Onlinekhabar.

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