Tobacco Farmers and Businessmen Co-operative of the greater Rangpur has threatened not to allow finance minister AMA Muhith to enter Rangpur if he does not shun biased policy towards bidi industry. General secretary of the association Mohammad Masum Fakir came up with the remark while speaking at a press conference at the National Press Club in the city on Saturday.
Mohammad Masum Fakir has said it is known to all that smoking, whether it is bidi or cigarette, is harmful for health. In fact, Cigarette is more harmful than bidi because it contains more tobacco than bidi. So, if you (AMA Muhith) want to close down manufacturing of these harmful products, then you have to close down both industries.
"But the finance minister, after holding meeting with British American Tobacco, said that he would close down bidi industry. How can this happen? We want to know for what reason he has been working to pull the plug on bidi industry," he has said.
Tobacco is the main cash crop of the four districts of greater Rangpur and the development of the people of this region mostly depend on bidi industry. If the industry is closed down without creating alternative employment opportunities, many people will be unemployed, he added.
The farmers and workers also threatened to go for strike to have their demand met. President of Rangpur Tobacco Farmers and Businessmen Co-operative Hamidul Haque has criticized finance ministers remarks about bidi industry. He has said two million people of this region are living in uncertainty following the finance minister's off-putting remarks about bidi industry.
"We are trying to meet finance minister but can't manage appointment with him. We only urge not to take any biased decision against bidi workers and farmers", he adds.
Among others, vice president of the organization Shafikul Islam Tuhin, member Bikash Ray, Rubel Mia, Masud Hasan, Amzad Hossain, Milon Ray, Nitay Chandra were also present in the press conference.
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