Odisha employs 8 lakh people in Kendu leaf trade
The Odisha government employed around eight lakh people through Kendu leaf operations during the lockdown, official sources said on Wednesday.
The kendu leaf operation during adverse weather conditions in February and March along with COVID-19 lockdowns are set to generate a trade surplus of Rs 100 crore, said Chief Secretary A K Tripathy.
Tripathy said this after the state level coordination meeting to discuss the kendu leaf trade operation. He directed the department of Forest and Environment to undertake more bush cutting in convergence with MGNREGS.
"Investing more in bush cutting will yield more production and procurement. It will also help in quality production of 'processed leaves' for which Odisha is known," Tripathy said.
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The state government had allowed kendu leaf collection during the second phase of COVID-19 lockdown.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Kendu Leaf) Pravakara Behera said, "More than 60 lakh person days were created during the current year in the works like bush cutting, procurement of leaves, phadi repairing, leaf drying and storage, processing, binding, bagging and transportation".
A total number of 7,54,631 leaf pluckers and 18,223 binders were engaged in the work of whom nearly 80 per cent were women, Behera said, adding that 16,533 seasonal staff were engaged in the operations. (PTI)