Bhubaneswar, Jan 31 (UNI) The Orissa government today hiked wages of Kendu leaf pluckers and binders.
The government announced to raise the collection value of a bundle containing 20 kendu leaves in the processed area from 25 to 27 paise and in the ''phala'' area from 50 to 54 paise.
In addition to it the sale price of kendu leaves per quintal for private producers has been raised to Rs 1550 from the existing Rs 1450.
Around 20 lakh workers are likely to be benefitted by the hike.
The decisions were taken at a meeting of the Kendu leaf advisory committee chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here.
Justifying the hike, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the kendu leaf pluckers and binders were the poorest of the poor and they deserve a hike.
The meeting also took a decision to make an amendment in the distribution of hard case kendu leave grant. As per the proposed change while 50 per cent of the grant would go to the Kendu leaf plucker and binder workers welfare fund, the rest 50 per cent would be spent for infrastrcture development in the kendu leaf producing area.
The committee also raised the binding rate of 5 kg bundle of class one and two types of kendu leaves from Rs 17.50 to Rs 21 per bundle, official sources said.
Similarly, the binding rate for class three and four types of kendu leaves of 5 kg weight was increased from Rs 16.50 to 19 and Rs 14.50 to Rs 18 respectively.
The committee also decided to give assistance of Rs 20,000 to the pluckers and binders for the treatment of serious diseases from the Kendu leaf pluckers and binders workers development fund.
Earlier, the assistance was given only in case of permanent disability or to the family members in case of untimely death of a worker.
Chief Secretary Ajit Kumar Tripathy, Development Commissioner R N Bohidar and other top officials of the government were present.
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