Kathmandu : Meanwhile, sugarcane farmers from Sarlahi have flocked to Kathmandu. The farmers have come to Kathmandu for the second time to appeal to the government saying that they have not received the required amount of sugarcane for four years.
The agitation of sugarcane farmers has started in Maitighar Mandal from Sunday. Farmers who have come to Kathmandu for the second time for the agitation have said that they will take the money this time anyway.
“I have left home and work. I didn’t have any money in my pocket, I have come with a loan of Rs 5,000. I don’t know how long it will last! But we are not afraid, sir. Instead, we are ready to die. But this time, we have to take the money anyway, ‘says Ramesh Prasad Yadav, a sugarcane farmer of Sarlahi Ramnagar village.
Yadav has not received around Rs 150,000 for the sugarcane he has sold. Even after four years of giving sugarcane to the mill, he still has not received full payment.
According to Yadav, Annapurna Sugar and General Industries Pvt. Ltd. of Sarlahi has not paid him Rs. 133,000 so far. ‘The total amount to be received from Annapurna Sugar Mill is 172,000. Not getting it for 4 years. Meanwhile, the mill had given only Rs 35,000. You should get as much as you have left, ‘said Yadav,’ I will not give up now. Anyway, take the money and leave. ‘
Another victim is Nathuni Chaudhary, a sugarcane farmer. Chaudhary has not received payment for sugarcane for the past four years. Annapurna Sugar Mill has not paid him for 900 quintals of sugarcane. He says that he got involved in the agitation as it was difficult for him to run the house due to non-payment by the mill.
“Agriculture, crops, crops, whatever we have, we have the same sugarcane. This is the main source of income. But where do we go when we don’t get the price? ‘Chaudhary said to Ratopati,’ What is cash crop? Sugarcane sold for four years has not been paid. How does the house work? Now it’s too late. That is why we have come to Kathmandu for the second time. This time we are not going to return like that. We are ready to fight but we will not give up money. ‘
Another farmer is 74-year-old Rajendra Mandal. Mandal, who came to Kathmandu during last year’s agitation, said that he had to return to Kathmandu after failing to fulfill the government’s promise to provide money. But the mandals who returned last year with the assurance of the government will not return this time.
“Instead, I am ready to die here, but I will not return without taking money,” said Mandal. He said that the government had betrayed them last year and this time they would not accept anything.
The board is yet to collect Rs 300,000 from Annapurna Sugar Mill in Dhankaul, Sarlahi. The mill has not paid the remaining payment since 2074 BS.
The government did not understand the value of farmers’ sweat
“Isn’t it the government of the people, the government of the poor, the government of the peasants?” Where is the government? What about the government? Do we have a sense of government? Is it just a communist government? ‘Asked Ram Suwa Ray Yadav, chairman of the Sugarcane Farmers’ Struggle Committee.
He says that they have not found anyone’s earnings, they have not tried to take away anyone’s share. “We have not even sought the government’s budget. We have only sought the value of our sweat. Is it so sad to find the value of your own sweat? How can this be so ?, ‘he said,’ This is a government of brokers. Otherwise, the government of the poor, the government of the peasants, has heard us shouting from the streets for the last four years? ‘
Yadav warned that one million farmers would now move to Kathmandu.
“The government considers us weak. The government is betraying us by forgetting the sweetness of the brokers. We will not allow that to happen now, ‘he said,’ We will take the payment anyway. At present, only about 200 of us farmers have come to Kathmandu. Only a few farmers from Sarlahi have come. Even so, if the government does not listen, we will bring farmers from all over the country to Kathmandu. ‘
He said that not only sugarcane farmers, but all types of farmers including paddy, wheat and millet will support him. He says the government will have a hard time that day.
Last year, for the first time, the affected sugarcane farmers came to Kathmandu to appeal to the government. The farmers who came to Kathmandu to get money had returned to the village after signing a paper agreement.
A five-point agreement was reached at a meeting of the Victims’ Struggle Committee held on April 3 last year at the Ministry of Industry with the involvement of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development, Ministry of Home Affairs and related sugar industries.
Such was the agreement
- Necessary coordination and facilitation will be provided by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supply to make arrangements for the sugar industrialists to pay the entire arrears of sugarcane farmers as per the price of sugarcane fixed by the Government of Nepal by January 22, 2010.
- To increase the productivity of sugarcane related to sugarcane farmers and operators, to provide timely fertilizer, seed and other machines to the farmers, to make the Nepali sugar industry self-reliant and even to export sugar, to use sugar industry co-products, In order to solve the problem of payment of sugarcane farmers in a sustainable manner, a working group consisting of sugar industrialists, farmers’ representatives and experts will be formed under the coordination of the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Industry To be implemented gradually.
- The Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies will send a request to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development and the Ministry of Finance for timely disbursement of sufficient amount of subsidy provided by the Government of Nepal to the sugarcane farmers.
- To appoint the Sugarcane Farmers and Industrialists as the Liaison Division of the Supply Management Division of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies to immediately inform and address any problem or complaint regarding the payment of sugarcane farmers and supply of sugar.
- All the farmers who have come to Kathmandu for payment have also demanded the government to immediately suspend their activities from today.
With this agreement, the farmers’ movement was suspended for the time being. Meanwhile, the affected sugarcane farmers have received payment of around Rs. 21 crore from the sugar industries. The affected sugarcane farmers have said that they are yet to receive payment of Rs. 900 million from various industries.
Out of which, Annapurna Sugar and General Company has to pay Rs. 170 million, Indira Sugar Mill Rs. 47 million, Shri Ram Sugar Mill Rs. 260 million and Lumbini Sugar Mill Rs. 84.1 million.
The farmers had met the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Supplies Lekhraj Bhatt on November 8 and handed over a memorandum.
He had mentioned in the memorandum that he would start agitation from December 12 if the arrears were not paid by Chhath. Secretary of the Sugarcane Farmers’ Struggle Committee Sarlahi Harishyam Ray said that the agitation has started accordingly.
He said that they will not return from Kathmandu until the full amount is received. “Only the farmers of Sarlahi have joined the agitation now. After this month, farmers from all over the country come to Kathmandu, ‘he said. He said that the Kathmandu-centric movement would gradually spread across the country.