A tribal women work on MInor Forest Produce in Nayagarh district. Photo Credit-Blink

Staff Writer @Blink

Bhubaneswar, April 30: Odisha government Thursday said that it had panned to procure 3 lakh quintal of Kendu leaves from the pluckers by the end of May 2020 and pay the forest dwellers and tribal families dependent onto it through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).

Mona Sharma, Additional Chief Secretary, Odisha Forests Department said that the state has planned to procure Kendu Leaf and also pay the workers involved in forestry related activities. She said that the government has also allocated the funds to be paid as wages to the workers.

She said, “Kendu leaf plucking is a very prominent activity in Odisha. Odisha is the only state which has been processing it for being used for bidi production. For this bush cutting exercise is done. We had almost done the works by March end. There are around 2 lakh people who have worked with us for this,”

She also added, “We have paid around Rs 26 crore as wages under this till now. We have now planned to procure 3 lakh quintal kendu leaf. The process goes till May. But the production depends on weather. There are around 6 lakh pluckers of kendu leaf. We have planned to allocated Rs 170 crore as wages for them,”

Sharma also said that there are around 1800 seasonal workers working in Phadis. she said that the state is planning to give the funds through DBT. She also said that Rs 100 crore has also been allocated for wages for the people working in forestry related activities.

“By June around a lakh of people will work with us for afforestation. We will do the work on 2 lakh hectare of land including new land and renovation of degraded forests and roadside forestry. Around Rs 100 crore wages have been planned for this. Later till September another Rs 100 crore will allocated for wages for people working with us for forestry,” she said.

Odisha has more than 14000 Van Surakshya Samiti or Eco Development Committees. They are protecting the forest and preserving it. Around 7000 workers from the state are working with them together.

“We are working on afforestation by pitting, cleaning and planting trees. We are taking all measures of social distancing and personal hygiene,” she said.

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