More than 50 lawmakers from different areas of the country have submitted demi official (DO) letters to the Prime Minister and the National Board of Revenue (NBR) recommending reduction of existing tariffs on the bidi industry in the upcoming fiscal 2020-21 budget.
Besides, more than two hundred request letters have been sent to both PM and NBR from different representatives including Zila parishad chairman, upazila chairman, municipality mayor and district-upazila Awami League presidents.
They have emphasised in these letters to the Prime Minister and the Chairman of the National Board of Revenue to protect the livelihood of millions of poor bidi workers.
In the DO letter, the MPs urged saying that the bidi industry as the original cottage industry and most of the bidi factories are located in remote areas in the villages.
On the other hand, cigarette factories are city-oriented. Most of the workers in the bidi industry are women. Most of these women workers are widows, divorced, elderly and disabled.
In addition, the current epidemic of coronavirus has stopped the work of these workers, but the demand for life does not stop, they wrote in the letters.
Bidi owners have to take the responsibility of feeding millions of workers. As a result, the duty on bidis cannot be increased to sustain their activities, they added.
The list includes Kishoreganj-03 MP Mujibul Haque Chunnu, president Standing Committee on Ministry of Labour and Employment, Nilphamari-04 Ahsan Adelur Rahman, Barisal-06 MP Nasrin Jahar Ratna, Kurigram 03 MA Matin, Dhaka 04 Abu Hossain Babla, Cox's Bazar-1 Zafar Alam, Nilphamari-03 Rana Mohammad Hohel, Joypurhat Khetlal Upazila Chairman Md. Mostakim Mondal, Panchagar Upazila Chairman Kazi Mahbubur Rahman Dablu and others.