Kerala Dinesh BWCCS LTD

Origin: Kannur District (Undivided) is popularly known as the Land of Looms and Lores. This northern part of Kerala was also famous for Beedi Industry. The Beedi workers' were known for their skill and dedication. More than half a century ago Mangalore (Karnataka) based private manufactures had run the industry in the area as there were plenty of skilled workers' in these area. By giving nominal wages without any benefits the private firms exploited the workers'. In the late sixties Indian Parliament passed a remarkable Bill known as Beedi and Cigar workers' (Conditions of Employment) Act with a discriminative power to the State Governments to implement the same. The then State Government led by E.M.S. Naboodiripad implemented the Act in Kerala in 1968 October. Believing that the implementation of the Act would adversely affect the business the private beedi manufactures like Ganesh Beedi abruptly closed the units in Kerala and shifted their business to Karnataka by overnight. The poor workers' became jobless and thrown to starvation literally. Though the Trade Unions unitedly fought against the heinous act of the private company it would not make any positive results. It is under the burning circumstance State Government, Trade Unions, Industries Department made effective steps to organize the workers' under Co-operative basis and started 20 Primary workers' Co-operative Societies and a Central Society where all these societies affiliated with. Government appointed an Executive Chairman in the Central Society from Industries Department. The founder Chairman was G.K.Panicker I.A.S., the Joint Commissioner of Industries Department. He remained in the post till his death in 1996. Government also nominated General Manager, District Industries Centre, Kannur as one of the members in the Board of the society. Other 7 members were elected from the affiliated primary societies. Initially only 3,000 workers' were given membership to these 20 Societiesand made Beedi in the Brand name “Dinesh”. It was a very difficult period in the starting years. But gradually, with the concerted efforts of the workers', Trade Unions and Management, the new brand became popular in the state. By late 70s and in the beginning of 1980’s the growth of the society was unprecedented with a work force of 42,000. The society got the position as the largest workers' Industrial Co-operative in the country. The role of the society in the local economy was very crucial. The economic and social development of these arreas was associated with Kerala Dinesh Beedi.

Benefits: Beedi workers' in the Kerala Dinesh Beedi get Wages, Dearness Allowance, Sunday Wages, Holiday Wages, Erned Leave, Bonus, Gratuity etc. Moreover they are also entitled to PF. Government sponsored anti-tobacco campaign, legislation for ban on tobacco products etc. paved the upcoming bitter days of beedi industry since the beginning of Nineties. Both the Government and the Judiciary enacted and enforced laws without creating an atmosphere for rehabilitating the thrown out work force. And thus thousand of people became unemployed losing their meager income availed earlier. The State Government led by the Left Democratic Front launched a Relief Pension Scheme for the dropouts from Dinesh Beedi Society in 2009. Nearly 4,000 workers' had benefited in the scheme who left their job since 2006. But now the scheme is unoperated due to lack of Government assistance. Also there remains Rs.3.5 Crore as in arrear for the beneficiaries.