Mangaluru, Feb 10, 2016 : Thousands of beedi workers under the aegis of the AITUC, BMS, CITU, HMS and Beedi Contractors Union took out a protest rally from Ambedkar Circle to the football ground behind the Town Hall on February 9, Tuesday to demand the withdrawal of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA).The protestors also submitted a memorandum to Union Minister for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya in support of their demands.
The protestors have demanded that alternate employment opportunities are provided to beedi workers before implementing any anti-tobacco policy and also to withdraw the proposed COTPA guidelines.
Addressing a press meet later, Balakrishna Shetty, President of CITU said the implementation of the COTPA would hit hard the over 1.3 crore people who rely on the beedi industry for their livelihood.
The government need to adopt well planned policies rather than unproven policies, he said. He further added that the COTPA Amendment and the 85% graphic health warnings are detrimental to the beedi industry as increasing the size of graphic warnings from the existing 40% to 85% was not possible.