Speakers at a grand rally on Saturday have urged the government to protect the country’s Bidi industry and demanded announcement of cottage industry status for it.
They said Bidi industry is one of the oldest ones in the country that engages about two million workers mostly from the extremely poor community.
Bangladesh Bidi Sramik Federation and Research and Development Collective (RDC) jointly organised the mega rally at Central Shaheed Minar premises in the capital on Saturday. Around 50 thousands of Bidi workers were present at the rally.
At the rally, speakers also vowed to thwart any conspiracy to close down the home-grown Bidi industry by imposing excess duties.
They demanded punishment for the officials of British American Tobacco Bangladesh (BATB) labeling them as conspirators of the destruction of the industry.
They said, 'The wrong decision of finance minister has pushed the bidi industry towards destruction. Bidi workers are leading inhuman life, so the government has to save the industry by reducing tax on it. If the industry close down over five millions of people involved in bidi industry will sit on the road.'
They also said, British American Tobacco Company (BATC) has done simply nothing for the country, rather they have siphoned off Tk 25 crore abroad from the country.
The Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) should work on the BATC's money flight and the responsible people should be brought under the punishment, they added.
President of Bangladesh Bidi Sramik Federation, Amin Uddin presided over the rally while Workers' Party General Secretary Fazle Hossain Badsha (Mp), Jatiya Shamajtantrik Dal (JSD) General Secretary , Nazmul Haque Prodhan (Mp), Awami League MP Fazlul Haque, Research and Development Collective (RDC) Chairperson Prof. Dr. Meshbah Kamal, General Secretary Jannat-a-Ferdousi, Federation President Abdur Rahman, General Secretary M K Bangalee, attended the rally among others.