Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (MS)
Mangaluru, Mar 2: Beedi industry, which used to be the livelihood of crores of families once upon a time is marching towards extinction. Shortage of labourers and countless conditions of the government have pushed this industry to the brink of closure.
According to the agreement entered into with WHO, before banning the beedi, a product of harmful tobacco, no attempt is made to provide an alternative way of livelihood to countless labourers employed by this industry. Lacs of families are suffering because of this situation.
There were eight lac beedi labourers in Karnataka some years ago. In the undivided district of Dakshina Kannada there were five lac beedi industry employees. However, the number has depleted considerably now.
India is taking steps towards making the country tobacco-free after signing an open agreement with the world community to get rid of the tobacco menace. There are around one crore beedi employees who are directly employed by the industry. In addition, there are agriculturists who grow the beedi leaves and the leaf collectors, which takes the total number of employees to three crore.
Beedi workers are in the lowest strata of society. Their life is further devastated by the inflation due to which they are not able to buy even groceries for living. They get just 100 rupees if they roll 1,000 beedis. Beedi rollers who roll 1,500 beedis per week get only Rs 700 to 800 per month. There is every chance that lac of families of beedi workers will be on streets due to not alternative work.
Though the WHO had the aim of making the world tobacco-free by 2020, it has not reached the target. But steps in this direction are in progress. Many nations, including India have banned smoking. But the plight of people employed in this industry is not taken care of.