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Bidi workers demand for enactment of protection law

21 June 2022

Our Correspondent :
Around two hundred bidi workers formed the human chain in front of Pabna Deputy Commissionar's office around11:00 am demanding to press home their four-points charter of demand.
Their four-point demands are- increasing the price of low quality cigarettes, withdrawal of 10 percent income tax on bidis, launching a law to protect the workers and taking steps not to issue license on the bidi factory.
After the human chain, the leaders of the bidi workers handed a memorandum to the Prime Minister through the Deputy Commissionar of Pabna.
The speakers said, the main competitor of bidi is low quality cigarettes. Currently, 85 percent of the cigarette market is low. Most of these low quality cigarettes are owned by foreign companies. In the proposed budget for 2022-23, the retail price of 10 stick cigarettes has been increased by only Tk. At this level, the price of cigarettes will increase by only 2.58 percent. This is very little. Low price cigarettes have taken over the bidi market as prices have not risen. As a result, the domestic worker-friendly bidi industry is on the verge of destruction.
The speakers also said, "Bidi industry is a domestic worker friendly industry. Bidi is a 100% indigenous technology based industry. On the other hand, everything in cigarettes is imported from abroad and depends on technology. Foreign multinational companies are smuggling thousands of crores of rupees by burning the lungs of the people of this country. The soul and wisdom of Mir Jafar, the accomplice of the British Baniyas and the newcomer, is making various attempts to destroy the bidi industry and workers. Besides, advance income tax on cigarettes is 3 percent and advance income tax on bidis is 10 percent. If all kinds of conspiracies against the domestic bidi industry, including the withdrawal of discriminatory advance income tax, are not stopped, we will be forced to wage a fierce agitation.
Bidi workers leaders Abdur Rahman, Nazim Uddin, Harik Hossain, Abdul Gafur, Shamim Islam and others spoke in the human chain.

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