Sal leaf pluckers get pittance  

In the absence of a Government policy to market sal leaves, tribals stitching plates and other items of the minor forest produce are being exploited by middlemen in the district.

Published: 08th March 2018 01:49 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th March 2018 04:09 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

DHENKANAL: In the absence of a Government policy to market sal leaves, tribals stitching plates and other items of the minor forest produce are being exploited by middlemen in the district. Middlemen purchase ‘khali’ plates and cups made of sal leaves at a low price from them and market it to earn huge profit, while tribals, particularly women, struggle to sustain their families from the meagre amount.  Sources said more than 10,000 tribal families are engaged in collection of sal leaves from forests in Kankadahada, Parjang, Hindol and other parts of the district. They are engaged for over six months a year for collecting sal leaves and making ‘khali’ and ‘chaupati’. 

Plucker Namita Padhan, a tribal woman of Bhalumunda village near Kamakshyanagar, said she spends six hours every day for collection of sal leaves and making plates and cups. “Eight sal leaves are required to make one plate and 80 such plates make a bundle which sells at `10 to `12 per bundle. We are able to make two bundles a day and earn `24 only,” she added.

Another plucker Suna Padhan said, “Braving wild animals, we pluck sal leaves from the reserve forest to eke out our living. But we never get the right price for the produce due to exploitation by middlemen. These middlemen sell a bundle of ‘khali’ for  `40 to `50. Apart from sal leaves, we have no alternative source of income.”Though it is a minor forest produce, vendors should pay royalty but here middlemen neither pay royalty nor legally collect the leaves. They only sell the plate commercially making a huge profit. The Government need to fix price of sal leaves and monitor it strictly as price is fixed for kendu leaf, tribals suggest.

Tribal leader Akshya Pany said the district administration needs to take steps for economic empowerment of the forest dwellers. Dhenkanal Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Rinku Kumari said there is no committee for price fixation of sal leaves at the district level. There should be an arrangement for sale of  minor forest produce. She said tribals can come with complaints against any exploitation by the middlemen.

Stay up to date on all the latest Odisha news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp