Mangaluru, July 29, 2018: The sad saga of ‘beedi’ workers is deplorable and therefore the central and state governments must come together and see to it that the working class is not cheated and provide encouragement to the beedi industry, appealed Mohammed Rafi, Secretary of Canara-Udupi District Beedi Contractor Union.
Speaking at a media conference in the city he said that since the last 5 years, beedi industry is wasting away. Complimenting the beedi industry, tobacco cultivation covers 4 lakh hectares of land in India. Close to 60 lakh tobacco cultivators are depended on this, he informed.
While there are 7 lakh workers who live their lives through beedi industry in the state, there are 3 lakh beedi workers in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts who still work in this industry. More than 2,000 beedi contractors are involved in this industry. In the present term, the law imposed by the central government on beedi industry has caused much sadness. Due to this, all the workers in the beedi industry feel like they have been pushed out onto the roads, Presently the work of beedi workers is limited to only 3 days a week. Due to this they have gone pauper. Our association will try to convince the central government on this through an appeal. The central government has responded to this through its letter which mentions that for the time being, no action will be taken against beedi industry.
While transferring leaves and tobacco to the particular beedi companies, the beedi contractors provide related paper work. They also provide GST and E-Way bill with it. Even though official documents are given, the tax officials conducting checks on roads refuse to accept the documents and on payment of fine, they do not give any receipts either, he complained.
Nowadays the number of people tying beedis has come down. In case the government comes forward to give an alternative industry, our association will agree to it, informed Mohammed Rafi.