Friday, August 6, 2010

Clash with farmers and owners caused indefinite shutdown of tea factories in Jhapa

More than a dozen tea factories in Jhapa district, located in the Terai region of Nepal, have been shut down due to dispute over prices with local tea farmers. On August 5, 2010, the Association of Tea Producers, declared an indefinite closure.

Earlier in July, a similar clash between farmers and tea factory owners took place forcing factory owners to shut down their plants. At that time, a new agreement was signed between farmers and factory owners on July 13, 2010.

The Association of Tea Producers is accusing the farmers of breaching the accord. On the contrary, farmers are claiming that price of tea leaves would increase according to the agreement.

Dhruba Kumar Siwakoti, President, The Association of Tea Producers, said that a number of entrepreneurs including Chandi Parajuli, Viswanath Shrestha, Santa Ratna Shakya and Dhruba Kumar Siwakoti had escaped from their homes after the farmers tried to lock them in. Siwakoti also said that the entrepreneurs cleared all payments of the farmers and said that they do not owe any money to the farmers.

Lekh Nath Pokhrel, Chief district officer, Jhapa district, said that they had already written to the local Police to provide security to the entrepreneurs.

Purna Kumar Kakri, President, Association of Small farmers said that they have not received any payments for the last five months. He said that they would not withdraw their protests until the entrepreneurs pay them the price they demanded for their tea leaves.

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