Plight of Beedi Workers of Armoor

The 12th day of the Sangharsha Sandesh Jatha started with the first stop at Armoor, the final stop in Nizamabad District. It was accompanied by motorbikes with red flags fluttering. Folk artists greeted the Jatha.

The gathering mainly consisted of Beedi workers and Gram Panchayat workers/Safai Karamcharies mostly from SC/ST sections and the Muslim community. The small township, a centre of beedi industry, is currently grappling with the crisis of falling wages, unemployment and water shortage. The beedi workers are in a pathetic situation with only a maximum of seven days of work in a month. The companies which exploit their labour do not respect the Government Order No:41 which stipulates Rs.162.50/day as the wages. They pay a meager Rs.110/ day or Rs.120/day for a whole day’s work where the worker makes 1000 beedies. This after a whole day’s rolling of beedis with the accompaniment of health hazards. Notably the Company sells beedies at Rs.6/bundle which contains 25 beedies which implies they sell thousand beedies at Rs.240/- that is often more than twice the wage given to a worker for the toil they put in to make the thousand beedies. Workers have no Provident Fund or ESI facilities or any social security measures. The Government is also not bothered about their housing and provision of basic amenities. People gave memoranda on their problems to the Jatha leader.

The meeting held at the town centre, was addressed by Srinivasa Rao, Central Secretariat Member CPI (M). In his speech he called upon the people of Armoor to rally behind the party in its struggles to improve the lives of the people of the country.