Odisha News Insight

Chief Secretary advises to intensify Kendu Leaf Operations

Kendu leaf operations in Odisha provides direct employment and supplementary livelihood to more than 8.38 lakh people at grass root level and generates additional 18 lakh man days each year. This has come to notice from the Kendu Leaf Coordination Committee meeting held under Chairmanship of Chief Secretary Sri Gokul Chandra Pati in secretariat conference hall today wherein, PCCF, Kendu Leaf Sri Amiya Kumar Mohapatra presented the updates and outlined issues for discussion. Reviewing the progress of kendu leaf operations, Chief Secretary Sri Pati has directed to upscale and intensify the kendu leaf activities in the migration prone districts to check labour migration. Sri Pati has also advised the authorities to examine the possibilities of covering kendu leaf workers under health insurance schemes like BKKY and RSBY.

Available data shows kendu leaf operations in the States provides direct employment to 8 Lakhs Pluckers during April-May every year, among whom near about 70% are women. The scheme generates about 18 lakhs man-days during February-March every year. Besides, the scheme also provides employment to 20,000 binders and 18,000 seasonal staff every year. At about 7452 Munishies, 6029 Chaparasi , 2036 Checkers, 550 binding checkers, 44 circle checkers and 116 clerks are also provided employment in supervision, coordination and management of procurement. Around 4000 Kendu leaf growers also get marketing support through the programme.

PCCF Kendu Leaf Sri Mohapatra appraised that each year during months of February and March around Rs. 27 cr is invested in bush cutting over 6 lakhs ha and repair & maintenance of 6000 Phadies which generates additional man-days for local people. Procurement of Kendu Leaves is taken up during April-May and   leaves of worth Rs.131 cr are procured every year. On an average, a family earns about Rs.8000 from this activity during a plucking season. Apart from that, KL organization invests about Rs.10 cr in April & May in Drying & Storage operations, thereby generating 7 lakhs man-days of employment. All pluckers and binders are covered under Aam Admi Bima Jojana. Each family gets scholarship of Rs 1200/- per annum for two children studying in 9th to 12th classes. In addition, Welfare Trust also assures Rs.25000/- in case of normal death and Rs.50000/- for accidental death. All seasonal staff are covered under Biju Patnaik Bima Jojana. Pluckers and binders also are provided with monetary assistance for chppals and mosquito nets. Their health check up is done through health camps. So far 630 health camps have been organised.

In 2014, the total procurement of KL leaves in different categories has been to the tune of Rs 3.93 lakh tons of which more than 91% has been sold out with overall average price of Rs.10,536/- per PPQ. For the year- 2015, target has been set to produce and procure 4.40 lakh quintals of leaf including 3.50 lakh qntls in process category, 0.10 lakh quintals of growers leaf and 0.80 lakh PPQ. The Development Commissioner Sri U.N. Behera along with other senior officers from Forest & Environment and Finance department participated in discussions.

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