DHUBRI, Sept 14 - The uncertainty over the farm produce has forced thousands of farmers and their families in many villages of Dhubri district to engage themselves in bidi production.
Making bidis use to be a pastime for the females in a few of the villages of the district earlier, but an unprecedented growth of production has been recorded of this cheap product since past few years. In fact, the male counterparts of the family as well as the children are engaging themselves in making bidis throughout the day, making it the main source of income of these families. According to a study, at least 3000 families in 10 villages of the Balazan and Debottar Hajdah area have completely engaged themselves in this production.
Although the bidi production is an unorganised sector, but more and more people are getting engaged in such works as they get regular payment from the contractors who visit village to village to collect the products from the families. For every thousand bidis, one gets Rs 100-120, and that means if four members of a family get engaged in such an activity then they can easily produce 3000 bidis, earning the family at least Rs 9000 per month.
�As this money is fixed and comes without any investment, people are getting more attracted to the industry,� said Nausad Ali of Baniyamari village, who has been making bidis since 25 years. �Earlier only the females use to make the bidis, but now everyone is attracted to it because the money is bound to come and we get payment for our hard work unlike farming, which is damaged by natural disasters every year.�
The villagers of the area, where the production is high, also informed that they use to engage themselves in cultivation of rice, jute and seasonal vegetables. �But we are not relying on these cultivation any more. It is not that we have completely left farming but we don�t depend on it any more,� said Farook Ahmed of Assamtari village, who also added, �flood and storm every year damage our farm produce and our fisheries.�
�The bidis give us a fixed income and is a stable source of money,� said Ahmed.
These bidis produced by the families are taken away by the contractors, who also supply them with tobacco leaves. Bidis are later sold in various markets of Assam and West Bengal under different brand names.