April 19, 2024, 11:52 pm

Workers demand cut in tax on bidi production to save industry

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Update : Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Staff Reporter, Dhaka : Tangail District Bidi Workers Union has formed a human chain on Monday demanding the safeguard of the bidi industry from the aggression of foreign multinational tobacco companies and a reduction in the tariff imposed on bidi in the upcoming fiscal.

Thousands of  bidi workers gathered in front of the Tangail Press Club a human chain there at around 11:00am.

Addressing the human chain, Stopping the aggression of British American Tobacco, taking legal action against those involved in illegal organisations, reduction of tariff from Tk 18 to Tk 16 on bidis and increasing the price of low quality cigarettes from Tk 40 to Tk 50.

After the human chain, the leaders of the bidi workers handed a memorandum through the District Administrator of Tangail.

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

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 a 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 Abdur Rahman, Harik Hossain, Shamim Islam, Lutfor Rahman, Anowar Hossain and others spoke in the human chain.

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