Annapurna Sugar mill owner lands in police net for not paying sugarcane farmers

Police have arrested Rakesh Agrawal, owner of the Sarlahi-based Annapurna Sugar Mill, from his private residence in Kathmandu.

A spokesperson of the Nepal Police, SSP Basanta Bahadur Kunwar, informed that Agrawal was arrested from his residence in Tripureshwor on Wednesday evening on the charge of not paying remaining dues of sugarcane farmers.

SSP Kunwar said that Agrawal has been charged with fraud cases that were registered against him in Sarlahi and Nawalparasi districts for not paying the dues of sugarcane farmers.

Agrawal is also the operator of Indira Sugar Mill in Nawalparasi. According to the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, Annapurna Sugar Mill has so far paid only Rs 99 million to farmers while mill still owes them Rs 170 million.

The Ministry of Home Affairs had earlier directed authorities concerned to arrest the sugar mill owners who fail to clear their arrears with the farmers by December 15. Farmers had come to Kathmandu from various Tarai districts on December 14 to pressurize sugar mill owners and government for their payment.

They had also staged protests at Maitighar Mandala for around two weeks before withdrawing following an agreement with the government where the latter vowed to make arrangements to clear the former’s dues.

The government and the farmers had reached a four-point agreement on December 28 after the government assured farmers that their payment will be done within 21 days. The farmers, however, have not been paid their dues and have announced fresh protest programs yet again.