BHUBANESWAR: The State Government on Thursday announced 100 per cent bonus on procurement price for kendu leaf pluckers for 2017. The decision will benefit around 7.8 lakh people and burden state exchequer by of `160 crore. The decision was taken at the meeting of kendu leaf development council presided over by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Naveen also announced that remuneration of the pluckers will be raised from 80 paise to ` 1 in ‘Keri’ (20 leaves) areas and `1.60 to `2 in ‘Fal’ (40 leaves) areas for 2018.
Also, the seasonal pluckers and binders will get 20 per cent bonus for 2017 harvest. It was also decided at the meeting that the earnings from kendu leaf trade will be utilised for welfare of the pluckers. The State Government has deposited `185 crore into the bank accounts of kendu leaf pluckers and binders in 2017. It has also allocated `40 crore for their developments under various schemes. State BJD secretary Bijay Nayak described the decision as historic.