Bangladesh Bidi Sramik Federation has submitted a memorandum to the National Board of Revenue (NBR) on four-point demand.
In the presence of thousands of workers, the leaders of Bidi Sramik Federation handed over the memorandum to NBR chairman Md Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan at 11:00 am on Wednesday.
Federation president Amin Uddin BSC, general secretary MK Bangali, joint general secretary Abdur Rahman and organizing Secretary Hirik Hossain were present.
Earlier, at 10am, central leaders of Bidi Workers Federation organised a human chain in front of NBR office where thousands of workers and employees of the country took part. The speakers urged the government to consider their 4-point demand in the upcoming budget.
The demands include (1) as long as there are cigarettes in the country, the bidi industry will remain, (2) Like bidi industry in India, the bidi industry of Bangladesh should be declared as 'cottage industry', (3) the customs duty of per thousand bidi should be Tk14, and (4) the bidi industry that produces less than 20 lakhs of sticks should be tax-free.
Amin Uddin BSC said country’s bidi industry is facing discrimination for the last 15 years. That's why the factories of this industry are decreasing at a geometric rate. Millions of workers are now jobless and helpless. Especially, the river erosion areas and the ‘Monga’ affiliate areas, where no other crops are grown except tobacco. In those areas, the farmers, businessmen and workers are suffering from depression. But the neighboring country of India declared the Bidi as 'Cottage Industry'.
General Secretary MK Bangali said, “If the bidi industry is closed, bidi will enter in the country from neighboring India and Myanmar. Thus the government will lose revenue and the bidi workers will lose their jobs.”