Bangladesh Bidi Sramik Federation on Thursday staged demonstration in the National Press Club demanding to withdrawal of ten percent advance income tax imposed on bidis.
Thousands of bidi worker demonstrated in front of National Press Club around 11:00am demanding to press home their five-points charter of demand.
Their demands are reduction of tariff on bidis in the forthcoming budget, withdrawal of 10 percent income tax on bidis, enactment of protection law for bidi workers, ban on issuance of bidi factory licenses without on-site inspection and legal action against counterfeiters. The labor leaders, later, handed over a memorandum to the Prime Minister.
M. K Bangali, President of Bangladesh Bidi Sramik Federation, presided over the demonstration.
Conducted by Joint Secretary of Federation Harik Hossain, Bangladesh Bidi Sramik Federation General Secretary Abdur Rahman was present as the chief guest. Bangladesh Bidi Sramik Federation Acting President Amin Uddin (BSc), Vice President Nazim Uddin, Vice President Lokman Hakim and among others were present as special guests.
Addressing the demonstration, the speakers said that the livelihood of the helpless, extremely poor, physically handicapped, widows and many other families of the society depends on the bidi industry.
The country's founding president Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman declared bidi industry from duty free considering the common people and helpless workers of this country.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her budget speech, directed to reduce the duty on bidis and increase the duty on cigarettes. But the British American Tobacco Company used some of the country's most corrupt bureaucrats to impose exorbitant taxes on bidis, they claimed.
Following the matter, bidi owners were being forced to close their factories as they could not bear the tax burden.
They strongly condemned and protested against this conspiracy. The workers, at the same time, demanded the introduction of social security schemes for the welfare of bidi owners and workers in neighboring countries like India, they added.