Maoists target kendu leaf godowns to press demand

Bhubaneswar: In the past three consecutive incidents in Khaprakhol block of Bolangir district, the number of kendu leaf godowns that were reduced to ashes by the Maoists has reached 17, leaving the state exchequer to face loss of lakhs of rupees. While these activities of the rebel group also expanded to Redhakhol, the extremists have demanded to raise wages of the kendu leaf binders, among few.

According to the bilingual letter, demands of the Maoists include hike in kendu leaf keri from 40 to 55 paise, increase of peons` monthly salary to Rs 4000 and raise daily wages of the kendu leaf binders to Rs 150.

Since the state houses nearly seven thousand kendu leaf godowns, such activities of the Maoists have affected livelihood of the tribals solely dependent on the kendu leaf collection.