Odisha to distribute Rs 100 cr profit among kenduleaf pluckers

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday said about Rs 100 crore will be distributed among kendu leaf pluckers in the state.

A decision in this regard was taken at the Kendu Leaf Advisory Board meeting presided over by Patnaik here today.

“Funds will be generated by reducing the rate of forest development tax on kendu leaf. About Rs 100 crore will be distributed among nine lakh people engaged in kendu leaf plucking,” an official release issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said.

Stating that the state government earns about Rs 420 crore from kendu leaf trade, it said now kendu leaf pluckers would be stake holders in the business.

The state government has also decided to reduce the Forest Development Tax from 16 per cent to two per cent and reduction of other charges, it said.

Patnaik hoped that sharing of profits due to reduction in the tax and other charges will turn the poor kendu leaf pluckers shareholders in the kendu leaf business leading to their empowerment.

He also directed the Forest department to accelerate the process of formulating service conditions for seasonal kendu leaf workers.

The meeting also deliberated on inclusion of seasonal kendu leaf workers in the welfare fund scheme, the release added.