Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The making of the bidi (the indigenous cigarette) is an industry widely spread over the country. It is partly carried on in the home, but mainly in workshops in the bigger cities and towns. Every type of building is used, but small workshops preponderate and it is here that the graver problems mainly arise. Many of these places are small airless boxes, often without any windows, where the workers are crowded so thickly on the ground that there is barely room to squeeze between them. Others are dark semi-basements with damp mud floors unsuitable for manufacturing processes, particularly in an industry where workers sit or squat on the floor throughout the working day. Sanitary conveniences and adequate arrangements for removal of refuse are generally absent. Payment is almost universally made by piece-rates, the hours are frequently unregulated by the employer and many smaller workshops are open day and night. Regular intervals for meals and weekly holidays are generally non-existent. In the case of adults these matters are automatically regulated by individual circumstances, the worker coming and going as he pleases and often, indeed, working in more than one place in the course of the week. Nevertheless in the case of full-time workers, i.e., those not using bidi making as a supplementary source of income, the hours are too frequently unduly long, the length of the working day being determined by the worker's own poverty and the comparatively low yield of the piece-rates paid.