The beedi rolling industry in India makes up a large portion of the Tobacco industry in India. It is estimated that around 3,50,000 tonnes of tendu leaves are collected for the process each year. But those who collect these leaves and make beedis are an exploited lot. In today's video, Saroj Kumar Suna from Odisha documents the condition of beedi makers in Gourajori Village, Baragada District Odisha.
The government of Odisha nationalised the collection of tendu leaves in 1973 to prevent the exploitation of the collectors. The regulated price that the workers should receive is Rs.63.28 per 1,000 beedis but they usually get Rs.42; middlemen pocket the rest. This is a story that repeats itself across beedi making communities across India.
In addition to this violation, beedi makers face severe health issues like TB and asthma. In most cases the government schemes for health benefits do not reach them. The exploitation of this community has been made possible because of the unorganised nature of the work and also because most are unaware of their rights.
The community in today's video has not received any of the facilities that were promised to them— proper storage for their tendu leaves, payment on time, mosquito nets, etc. Saroj Kumar Suna would like you to make a call that could help them get what has been promised to them.
Call to action: Please call Mr Debarat Roy, Divisional Forest Officer of Padmapur division on 066-83223437 and ask him to ensure that the people are paid on time and that they are given the facilities promised.