State govt raises kendu leaf procurement price

Bhubaneswar/Sambalpur: As part of welfare measures for kendu leaf pluckers in Odisha, the state government on Sunday increased the procurement price of kendu leaf to 60 paise per kerry from existing 40 paise. The wage of kendu leaf workers has also been increased by 66%. This was announced by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik during kendu leaf workers’ meet in Sambalpur.
Patnaik said, “The state government has decided to enhance the collection price of kendu leaf by 50% of the present rate. Accordingly, kendu leaf pluckers will get 60 paise per kerry (a bundle of 20 leaves) instead of 40 paise in processing area while Rs 1.20 per kerry instead of 80 paise in phal area. The government has also enhanced the wage of seasonal kendu leaf workers by 66%.”
Detailing out other measures for the leaf pluckers, Patnaik said, “A proposal for service conditions for kendu leaf pluckers is under active consideration of the Odisha government.”
Meanwhile, Odisha Kendupatra Karmachari Sangh, a body of kendu leaf workers, has welcomed the decision.
Odisha Kendupatra Karmachari Sangh President Bijaya Kumar Mohanty said, “We are happy with the state government’s announcement. The pluckers will be ultimately benefitted with today’s decision.” 
In last July, the state government had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) to provide insurance cover to an estimated 8 lakh families in the state engaged in plucking and binding of kendu leaves.