Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jan 28:
Odisha government will reduce Forest Development Tax on kendu leaf from 16 percent to 2 percent soon. The decision was taken at a high level meeting of Kendu Leaf Development Board (KLDF) held at the secretariat and chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
However, the government, like previous years, will continue its bonus of 15 paise per bundle for Kendu leaf pluckers and will stick to the wages of last year for plucking Kendu leaves.
The meeting also discussed proposals such as providing employment of three months to Munsis and offer of bonus to temporary workers.
The Chief Minister directed to convene another meeting chaired by Forest and Environment Minister within three months to study the new proposals and take action on other decisions.
As per information released to press, so far 8,54,915 kendu leaf plucking and binding labourers have been covered under Aam Admi Insurance Policy while the state government has covered 15,274 temporary workers under Biju Patnaik General Insurance Scheme. Also, 2.79 Lakh workers have been covered under Pluckers and Binders Welfare trust.
Forest and Environment Minister Bikram Keshari Arukh, Labour Minister Prafulla Kumar Mallik, Chief Secretary Gokul Chandra Pati, senior executives and other members were also present in the meeting.