Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has announced Rs 87.50 crore for nearly 8.35 lakh kendu leaf workers who are experiencing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
An official statement said this will benefit nearly eight lakh pluckers, nearly 17,500 binders and over 17,500 seasonal staff. A special incentive, a bonus of 25 per cent will be given to over 7.89 lakh registered kendu leaf pluckers in view of their plight during the nationwide lockdown.
The official statement further said the total amount will be to the tune of Rs 27.25 crore.
The price of each kendu leaf bundle (comprising 20 leaves) has been enhanced by 20 per cent, from Re 1 to Rs 1.20 during 2020 kendu leaf crop year.
Such a measure will benefit of about Rs 32 crore to around eight lakh pluckers in the state. Similarly, an incentive of five per cent of wages will be given to 17,345 registered kendu leaf binders involving a total amount of Rs 1.26 crore.
The Odisha government has further announced incentive for 17,444 unorganised seasonal staff who will get additional five per cent of their wages.
The state government has decided to provide Rs 200 to each plucker for purchasing water bottles. The expenditure will amount to Rs 15.77 crore.
The financial aid to the kendu leaf pluckers will be credited to their bank account through the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme.