Daily Dhaka Times: Greater Rangpur Tobacco Farmers and Businessman Co-operative have threatened, If the Finance Minister did, not shun his biased policy towards Bidi industry, he won’t be allowed to enter in Rangpur. The general secretary of the association Mohammad Masum Fakir have asserted this on Saturday in a press conference at National Press Club.
Mr. Fakir said, Bidi or Cigarette whichever it is, smoking is injurious to health. This fact is known to everyone, both are harmful. In fact, we can say Cigarette is more harmful than Bidi because it contains more tobacco than Bidi. So if you want to closure, close down both industry. But after meeting with British American Tobacco, Finance minister said he will close down Bidi industry. How can this happen? We demand an investigation for Why he has been working so hard to close down a homespun cottage industry.
He added people of four district of Greater Rangpur depends on Bidi Industry. Did he know, how many people will be unemployed if the Bidi industry gets closed without creating alternative employment opportunities? Tobacco is the main cash crop of the region, so farming is based on tobacco based. The workers related to farming depends on the tobacco industry. The who work on Tobacco processing, also make their livelihood from this industry. So this regions development to survival is based on Tobacco Industry. This industry won’t be closed down so easily.
By saying Rangpurs survival depends mostly on Tobacco Industry he adds, The development of the people of this region is based on the tobacco industry. We won’t let close this industry without creating alternative employment opportunities for the peoples related to this industry. The farmers and workers will come to the highway if needed.
The president of Rangpur Tobacco Farmers and Businessman Co-operative Hamidul Haque criticized finance ministers remarks about Bidi Industry. He said, All the journalists here know what language he uses. He says, we will close down Bidi Industry now, and then next he says we will do it later, Two million of people of this region living in uncertainty for his remarks, If bidi industry got destroyed there will be Monga in this region. Is finance minister taking this in his consideration?
Mr. Hamidul has said, We are trying to meet finance minister. He hasn’t had given us any appointment, but we are trying. We only demand that no biased decision shouldn’t be taken against bidi workers and farmers. In the press conference, the co operatives vice president Shafikul Islam Tuhin, Member Bikash Ray, Rubel Mia, Masud Hasan, Amzad Hossain, Milon Ray, Nitay Chandra were present among others.