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Bidi workers stages human-chain demos

Published : 12 Jan 2022 10:23 PM | Updated : 13 Jan 2022 03:32 PM

Bidi Sramik Sangram Parishad (BSSP) has organized a human chain for reduction of advance income tax and stopping fake Bidi production across the country to secure their jobs.

The leader of BSSP claimed withdrawal of 10 percent advance income tax on Bidi, which creates a threat of surviving the business. Additional tax imposed on the local Bidi is nothing but a conspiracy of multinational companies to destroy the sector.

The demand came up from a human chain organized by the BSSP in front of Khulna Press Club at around 11am on Wednesday.

MK Bangali, president of Bangladesh Bidi Sramik Federation, Anower Hossain, Vice President, Abdur Rahman, Secretary, Harik Hossain, joint secretary, Shamim Islam, publicity secretary of the federation, Khulna regional Sramik leader Azad, among othere, were spoke in the function.

The speakers said, “Foreign multinational companies are smuggling money abroad by burning the lungs of the people of this country. But the domestic bidi industry is being destroyed conspiratorially.

“We strongly condemn and protest against this. The speakers threatened to intensify the movement if the conspiracy against the local Bidi industry would not stop,” they added.

The speakers at the human chain said, “Many workers from Khulna and its surrounding areas depend for livelihood by working in bidi factories. In the ancient labor-intensive bidi industry of the country, the helpless, the poor, the abandoned husbands, the people affected by river erosion, the physically challenged and other disadvantaged people total depending on earning in the local Bidi factories.”

After independence, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared bidi industry duty free considering the common people and helpless workers of this country. Labor-friendly Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the budget for the fiscal year 2009-2010 directed to reduce the duty on bidis and increase the duty on cigarettes, they said.

But the British American Tobacco Company used some of the country's most corrupt bureaucrats to impose exorbitant taxes on Bidi. As a result, Bidi factory owners are being forced to close their factories as they cannot bear the additional tax burden.

Losing their jobs, the Bidi factory workers are struggling for their livelihood, the labor leaders said.

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