Swadeshi Sugar Mills not paying dues to Sugarcane farmers

Swadeshi sugar mills is one of the largest sugar mills in West Champaran’s Narkitiaganj city. Farmers, big or small, from all over Maniyatar block to Gauraha block, face a lot of difficulties when it comes to payment by the Swadeshi mill for their sugarcane crop. This year the wait for money stretched a bit too far. The farmers have credited their crop to the mill nearly 7 months ago. In spite of their regular visits to the mill, they haven’t received anything.

 

– The problem we are facing here is that we have sold our sugarcane and haven’t been paid.
– How much time since you have sold them your sugarcane?
– 6 months now.
– Haven’t they paid you?
– Not yet.
– Why is the money blocked?
– The mill would have an answer to this. If we borrow money then we pay an interest, but when they keep our money from 6 months, we are never paid anything.

A small farmer from Tara Bosariya village has been bearing the brunt due to delay in payment. His family is completely dependent on agriculture and has grown sugarcane over nearly half his land. The mill hasn’t paid him for his sugarcane which is why he has many difficulties to overcome, like food, clothing and children’s education.

– What problems you currently face without money?
– Two of my children go to school, of which one son has dropped out. He asks for money and I am unable to give him. Me and my other son have illnesses to deal with.

Similarly, all the other farmers have other problems to overcome without being paid.

– You have sowed a lot of seed on your land and this year it hasn’t rained too much. How will you meet your financial needs?
– We are clueless as we currently need to borrow at 5 percent or at the rate of 10 percent. We have to borrow money.
– How do you usually manage your expenses?
– We usually borrow money on interest or we have to rent out our land to the big farmers.
– Haven’t you taken any action against the payment default by the company?
– We have approached them twice but none of the officers are willing to listen.
– Do they have no answer at all?
– They tell us that we’ll get our money once the company makes money.

I am a farmer too and have 2 acres of land under sugarcane. I too have sold my crop and haven’t received any money. I wish to see the farmers being paid fairly and that payments get cleared soon. I am going to submit an application regarding this issue, to the sugar mill along with my community.

I appeal to my viewers to please help my cause by calling Sugar Industries Department on 9571007226 and demanding clearance of dues and fair pay for the farmers.

I am Tanju from Bihar, reporting for IndiaUnheard.

This video was made by a Video Volunteers Community Correspondent. Community Correspondents come from marginalised communities in India and produce videos on unreported stories. These stories are ’news by those who live it.’ they give the hyperlocal context to global human rights and development challenges. See more such videos at www.videovolunteers.org. Take action for a more just global media by sharing their videos and joining in their call for change.

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