BMS affiliate beedi workers union today sought a probe into alleged foreign funding of NGOs and legal firms for purportedly pushing regulations of tobacco products that benefit MNCs.
Akhil Bharathiya Beedi Mazdoor Maha Sangh (ABMSS) President Kalal Srinivas has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard demanding action.
“Srinivas in his letter has alleged that foreign funds worth more than $25.66 million were received by NGOs and legal firms in the last couple of years to fund political lobbying to push for regulations of tobacco products that benefit multinational cigarette companies whose products are smuggled into India,” ABMSS said in a statement.
Srinivas added that regulations related to cigarette and other tobacco products mandating 85 per cent pictorial health warnings on packets will lead to smuggling of products.
“This does not appeal to any common person as to how these NGOs… are pushing governments of developing nations to change their laws,” he said.
However, ABMSS acknowledged that “any NGO formed in the interest of public health is important” and does not wish to challenge that.