MEMBERS OF the Bidi Mazdoor Union, Indore division, affiliated to the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) took out a rally and submitted a memorandum to divisional commissioner Ashok Das here on Friday.
The memorandum has been addressed to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh. The Union is protesting the Central Government’s decision to introduce a law from February 2007 making it compulsory for the bidi manufacturers to print a warning sign (skeleton with a cross) along with the caption “Daily 2,500 people die from smoking bidis” on every packet.
Union general secretary Rajendra Kesari said in a press release that this step would hit bidi sales, result in closure of many factories and render lakhs of labourers’ unemployed.
“If the World Health Organisation (WHO) believes that tobacco is the biggest killer in the world today then why does it not ban its cultivation and sale,” Kesari said.
Accusing the government of adopting a biased attitude, he said cigarette companies are only required to print a statutory warning on the pack while bidi manufacturers will bear the brunt of tougher laws. Bidi labourers from other parts of the State including Ujjain, Burhanpur, Sanawad and Kannod also participated in the rally.