Beedi industry is on verge of extinction, says Shriyan

Centre of Indian Trade Unions leader K R Shriyan said beedi industry is on the verge of extinction due to wrong moves of the Union government.

He was speaking after inaugurating the fifth Dakshina Kannada district beedi workers’ meeting organised under the aegis of CITU at NGO Hall here on Tuesday.

Shriyan said around two crore people in the country and more than 65 lakh people in Karnataka are dependent on beedi industry for their livelihood. The amendment to the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products’ Act has made their future bleak. The Provident Fund amount of workers is invested in share market. The Union government is giving slow poison to the industry. 

He recalled that efforts were being made since 1952 to weaken beedi industry, by closing the beedi depots, as the workers used to form federations. But the beedi company owners could not break the unity of beedi workers. The workers continued to roll beedis at their homes, he said.

The workers are finding it difficult to lead their livelihood as the prices of daily commodities have gone up, he said.

CITU district general secretary Sunil Kumar Bajal said the beedi workers are losing jobs and they should be provided other jobs. The state government has cheated the workers by not providing them the justified dearness allowance, he said. 

A memorandum containing various demands, such as provision of minimum wages,  ESI facility, along with proper DA as per the Supreme Court orders, good quality tobacco and leaves, scrapping of contract and subcontract system, identity cards and BPL cards to beedi workers, was prepared.   One lakh signatures of the beedi workers would be collected and the memorandum would be sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the leaders said.
Federation Leader U B Lokaiah chaired the programme.

CITU state vice president Vasanth Achari, District Beedi Federation vice-presidents Ramani Moodbidri, Bharathi Bolar and Babu Devadiga, leaders Jayanthi Shetty and Sanjiva Bangera were present.
DH News Service

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