সোমবার, ২৫ সেপ্টেম্বর ২০২৩, ০৯:১৭ পূর্বাহ্ন
Kushtia Bidi Sramik Sangram Parishad on Wednesday staged demonstration in the district town demanding to protect the bidi industry from the aggression of foreign multinational companies and to reduce tariffs on bidis in the budget for the next 2023-24 fiscal year.
Around Thousand workers under the bannnee of Kushtia Bidi Sramik Sangram Parishad demonstrated in front of Kushtia Public Library premises around 10:30 am to press home their demands.
Their demands are reduction of tariff from Tk 18 to Tk 16 on bidis in the forthcoming 2023-24 budget, increasing the wages of bidi workers, stopping of low quality cigarettes of British American Tobacco and stopping the aggression of British American Tobacco.
The labor leaders, later, handed over a memorandum to the Prime Minister through the Deputy Commissionar of Kushtia.
Nazim Uddin, vice-president of Bangladesh Bidi Sramik Federation, presided over the demonstration.
Conducted by its joint-secretary Harik Hossain, General Secretary of Kushtia District Awami League M Azgar Ali was present as the chief guest. Ataur Rahman Ata, Chairman of Kushtia Sador Upzilla was present as the special guest while Abdur Rahman, General Secretary of Bangladesh Bidi Sramik Federation spoke as the keynote speaker.
Kushtia District Awami League Labor Affairs Secretary Golam Mostafa, Kushtia District Sramik League President Anarul Haque, Bangladesh Bidi Sramik Federation Acting President Amin Uddin (BSc), Organizing Secretary Abdul Gafir, Bidi Sramik Leader Chad Ali and among others were present as special guests.
Addressing the demo, the speakers said, Millions of workers 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, they 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.
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, the speakers said.
If there is a conspiracy against the bidi workers, we will be forced to go for a tough movement, they added.