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Andhra Wants Withdrawal of Warning Signal from ‘Beedi’ Packes

Andhra Pradesh state legislative assembly Monday unanimously passed a resolution urging the central government to withdraw an order that makes it mandatory// for 50 percent of the 'beedi' packet wrapper to be covered with a statutory warning signal.

On the first day of the winter session, the house passed the resolution appealing to the centre to withdraw the order as it could affect livelihood of thousands of 'beedi' workers.

The resolution moved by Chief Minister Y.S. Rajashekara Reddy was passed unanimously as members cutting across party lines voiced their concern over welfare of 'beedi' workers.

Reddy assured the House that the government would do everything possible to convince the centre to withdraw the order.

He said that after representations from the state, the centre had already postponed implementation of the order by six months.

On July 5, the government made it statutory to print the picture of a skull with two bones, the usual danger signal, so that even illiterate smokers would know that smoking a 'beedi' was injurious to health.

The chief minister said the state government was for printing statutory warning in words on 20 per cent of the space rather than the skull and bones mark.

Buoyed by the massive victory of their president K. Chandrasekhara Rao in the recent by-election to Karimnagar Lok Sabha seat, Telangana Rashatra Samiti members stormed the well of the House as soon as it met for the day.

The warning mark was a major issue in elections in the constituency, which has more than 200,000 'beedi' workers.

The main opposition Telugu Desam Party also demanded a statement from the chief minister on the issue.

Amid the ruckus, Speaker K.R. Suresh Reddy had to adjourn the house twice.

Barring the ruling Congress party, all parties insisted on the house immediately passing a resolution. The government later agr eed to the demand.


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