By BS Reporter
The state government on Sunday announced the decision of hiking wages of Kendu leaf pluckers to appease the tribals in the run up to the elections scheduled early next year.
As per the announcement, the collection value of a bundle containing 20 kendu leaves in the processed area has been hiked from 40 to 60 paise and in the “phala”' area from 80 to 120 paise. In addition, the sale price of kendu leaves per quintal for private producers has been raised to Rs 3,250 from the existing Rs 2,170.
Around a million workers are likely to be benefitted by the hike.
Besides, the state government has announced 66 per cent hike in the payment for seasonal kendu leave workers.
“The government has decided to enhance the wage of kendu leave seasonal workers by 66 per cent. A proposal for service conditions for the kendu leave seasonal workers is under the active consideration of the government,” said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik during his visit to Sambalpur on Sunday. The wage hike announcement came on the same day, when Union Rural Development minister announced Rs 300 crore housing and road construction package for tribals of Kalahandi district during his visit to Niyamgiri area.
Apart from the wage hike and consideration of service conditions for the workers, Patnaik also talked about the steps the state government has taken for the betterment of the workers that includes creation of welfare trust and insurance coverage for them.
In July last year, the state government signed a pact with the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India with an initial expense of Rs 8 crore to insure the workers. The scheme was floated following a Planning Commission of India suggestion.