Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government Saturday announced a slew of benefits amounting to Rs 87.50 crore for around 8.35 lakh kendu leaf workers who are facing a rough phase due to COVID-19 pandemic. 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 fuelled by coronavirus outbreak. The total amount will be to the tune of Rs 27.25 crore.
The government also enhanced the price of each kendu leaf bundle (comprising 20 leaves) by 20 per cent, from Re 1 to Rs 1.20 during 2020 kendu leaf crop year. “This will result in additional benefit of about Rs 32 crore to around eight lakh pluckers in the state,” it said. 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.