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Bidi workers demand withdrawal of advance 10 percent income tax

30 June 2022

Our Correspondent :
Greater Rangpur District Bidi Sramik Union has formed a human chain on Tuesday demanding to press home a four-point charter of demand including withdrawal of 10 percent income tax on bidi in the budget.
Thousands of bidi workers gathered in front of the Rangpur Deputy Commissionar's office and formed a human chain there at around 11:00am.
Their four-point demands are- increasing the price of low quality cigarettes, withdrawal of 10 percent income tax on bidis, enactment of protection law for the workers engaged in the bidi industry 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 Rangpur.
Speakers said, "Millions of workers including the helpless, disadvantaged, extremely poor, physically handicapped and widows make a living by working in the bidi sector.  But the country's ancient labor-intensive industry is being destroyed by the conspiracy of foreign multinational companies.  
Multinational companies were smuggling thousands of crores of rupees abroad by burning the lungs of the people of this country.  Some corrupt local officials are taking advantage of foreign multinational companies and imposing excessive taxes on bidis.  Bidi owners are being forced to close their factories as they cannot bear the burden of this exorbitant tax, he said
As a result, the workers are living a dehumanized life.  Besides, advance income tax on cigarettes is 3 percent and advance income tax on bidis is 10 percent.  We want to repeal this discriminatory advance income tax.
Speakers also said, "Some unscrupulous bureaucrats are conspiring to increase tariffs on bidis to give foreign cigarette companies a monopoly.  Due to the increase in tariffs, unscrupulous traders are making fake bidis and marketing them to evade the tariff.  
The government is being deprived of huge amount of revenue.  It is even creating confusion in the minds of the people by hiding the real number of bidi workers to destroy the bidi industry and workers. We strongly condemn and protest against this, they said.
If there is a conspiracy against the bidi workers, we will be forced to go for a tough movement, they added.
Bidi workers leaders M K Bangli, Amin Uddin (BSc), Abdur Rahman, Nazim Uddin, Abul Hasnat Lavlu, Anowar Hossain and others spoke in the human chain.

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