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Beedi workers agitation against G O spreads to Rayalaseema

Written by: Staff

Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, Nov 23 (UNI) The agitation against G O 297, making it statutory to print the picture of a skull on beedi packets to pictorially warn smokers, started in Karimnagar, has spread to Rayalaseema.

Hundreds of beedi workers today staged a dharna at the Collectorate here, demanding withdrawal of Union Government's Order stipulating the printing of skull on beedi packets.

Pulla Reddy, CITU City President alleged that the order was a deliberate attempt by the Congress-led UPA government to destroy the beedi industry and make the cigarette industry flourish.

The UPA government would also go the way the NDA government had gone if it resorted to anti-worker policies, he charged.

About 12 lakh workers, most of whom women, earn their livelihood working in the beedi industry in the state.

The issue erupted first in Karimnagar where all the political parties blamed each other for the decision, as the by-election to the Karimnagar Lok Sabha seat is due on December four, 2006.

While TRS Chief and former Union Labour Minister K Chandrasekhara Rao, whose resignation caused the by-election, blamed the Union Health Minister, the TDP blamed both the Congress and the TRS.

The Congress said the Act was brought in 2003 when the TDP supported NDA government was in power, the G O was released while Chandrasekhara Rao was the Union Labour Minister in 2005.

The Congress was making hectic efforts to get an assurance from the UPA government on the issue as it was keen on winning the Karimnagar Lok Sabha by-poll, which was described by Chandrasekhara Rao as a referendum on Telangana state.


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