First News
Volume:7, Number:49
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Over 2 Million Bidi Laborers at Livelihood Risk Due to Heavy Taxation

| Navid Ahmed |

Bidi factory owners urged the government to reconsider the taxation hike of 110 percent in the proposed budget, because it what they said is an injustice to 2 million workers employed in this sector. Leaders of Bangladesh Bidi Shilpa Malik Samity (BBSMS) made the call at a press conference at National Press Club on June 7. Leaders of the association accused that the heavy taxation on local initiatives is biased toward foreign companies and a blueprint for destruction for this homespun industry. They demanded that the government must withdraw the proposed hike, which would eventually destroy the industry. During his welcome address, public health specialist Mohammad Abdus Sabur discussed the comparative health risk of bidi and cigarette. He opined that, there is less nicotine in bidi than cigarette. There is 48 percent nicotine in a cigarette whereas bidi contains 30 percent. So there is lower health risk in bidi than cigarette. In developed world, bidi made of tendu leaf is considered less risky than cigarette. BBSMS general secretary Sheikh Mohammad Mohiuddin said the proposal of finance minister will make life of 20 million people involved in this industry vulnerable.

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