Dhading farmers seize‚ destroy KFC chicken
DHADING: Local poultry farmers seized two Indian containers laden with chicken—meant for the Kathmandu-based KFC Restaurant and being imported from New Delhi of India— in Dharke of the district on Friday night and Saturday morning. In the afternoon, they destroyed the consignment of 5100 kg chicken despite the police protection and invervention.
UPDATE AT 6:15 PM
Tension ran high in Dharke at around 4 pm after the locals tried to burn the consignments that they had handed over to the police earlier in the morning. Security personnel took to lathi charge and lobbed three teargas shells to contain the situation. Two persons including a journalist affiliated with a local radio were injured in the hullabaloo. Police said they had to use force as the locals resorted to vandalism. Locals, however, took over and buried the the chicken.
UPDATE AT 6:50 PM
Injured have been identified as Radio Rajmarga’s Bhuwan Paudel and farmer Deep Bahadur Adhikari, who originally hails from Battar of Nuwakot district. Adhikari, who was critically injured in the clash, was sent to Kathmandu for treatment but police at Khanikhola stopped him, according to locals. Paudel is receiving treatment at local Shiva Darshan Hospital. Earlier, police had detained five persons on board the two heavy vehicles with Indian license plate —MH 43 U 4337 and DL 1 M 6582— for interrogation.
The KFC, which started its outlet in Kathmandu (picture below) three years ago, has been importing chicken from Thailand via India. According to drivers and their helpers, the containers were meant for the Devayani International Nepal that supplies chicken to the KFC. Poultry farmers took over the alleged consignments of broiler—one on Friday night and the other on Saturday morning, arguing that since Nepal has been independent on poultry products and they should not be imported from foreign countries. Chief District Officer of Dhading Bed Prasad Kharel said that further action would be initiated after a quarantine team from Agriculture Ministry carries out test on the haul. Both the consignments —one with 500 kg and the other 1100 kg chicken—have documents for customs and quarantine clearance from Birgunj. However, the local farmers claimed that the chicken was being imported illegally.
“Though the consignments of chicken were apparently meant for Devayani International,” said Shiva Prasad Sharma, chairman of Nepal Hatchery Udyog Sangh, “They haven’t officially responded, creating suspicions over the imported chicken’s consumption.” Saying he has been informed that 22 containers were heading to Kathmandu from Birgunj, Sharma argued that such a big quantity of chicken could not be just meant for the KFC. Security personnel stood guard to provide security to the vehicles after locals deflated their tyres.
Mining protest turns violent; 6 hurt
BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya—Six people suffered injuries when villagers clashed with work crews and policemen as they tried to block a clearing operation to make way for a mining project in upland Runruno village in Quezon town. Witnesses told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Saturday that the scuffles ensued on December 12 when bulldozers broke a human barricade composed of about 70 villagers. The crewmen were brought in to develop the site for a gold-molybdenum project of FCF Minerals Inc., an Australian firm.
FCF has not issued a statement about the incident despite requests made by the Inquirer. The firm’s country manager, Craig Watkins, did not respond to telephone calls and text messages. “Those injured were shoved during the melee. Others were hit by police truncheons,” said a witness, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal from the authorities. The villagers tried to prevent FCF’s entry into a 6,839-square meter property owned by Dolphy and Teresa Tindaan, who filed a lawsuit last year to stop the operation.
The couple feared that their property would be affected by the operation. On December 10, Judge Fernando Flor of the regional trial court here ordered the opening of a 20-meter access road that would allow FCF to start its clearing activities. The judge’s order was intended as an interim measure while the hearing of the Tindaans’ complaint continued. “Some of those who were injured were treated for minor cuts, while others were brought to the hospital. A medical team from the police was said to be around but they did not trust the police because they were (supporting the) mining company,” said Jonathan Humiwat, president of the Bit-ang Runruno Residents Association, a people’s organization.
A number of villagers blocking the clearing operations found themselves half buried in loose soil, Humiwat said. In his report, Senior Superintendent Valfrie Tabian, provincial police director, described the clearing operation as “generally peaceful and orderly” and “with successful results.” When asked, Tabian said the police did not take sides and were at the clearing site to maintain order.