Patnaik announces package for kendu leaf pluckers, demands GST abolition

NewsDrum Desk
23 Nov 2022

Bhubaneswar, Nov 23 (PTI) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced a special package for the welfare of kendu pluckers and other employees on Wednesday and demanded complete withdrawal of GST on the collection of the leaf.

The package was announced a day after the ruling BJD criticised the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre over imposition of 18 per cent GST on kendu leaf trade.

Patnaik said the special package will benefit around eight lakh pluckers, binders and other seasonal staff associated with the kendu leaf trade.

The chief minister said that the Centre has imposed 18 per cent GST on kendu leaf business. “I had earlier requested the central government to remove it and I am again raising my demand to completely abolish GST from the business”.

The package, he said, was announced after three rounds of discussion in the past week over various problems faced by the kendu leaf pluckers.

Kendu leaf is used to wrap bidis and is one of the most important non-wood forest products in the state. It is called the green gold of Odisha.

According to the special package, Rs 1,000 will be given to each kendu leaf plucker and Rs 1,500 to each seasonal staff and binder in the first phase. All kendu leaf pluckers and employees will be covered under Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY), an official release issued by the chief minister’s office said. The package also had provision for stipends for the offsprings of kendu leaf pluckers and other employees. Besides, meritorious students will be awarded at the district level.

The gratuity payment for kendu pluckers of a circle and leaf binders has been revised from seven days to 15 days. All pluckers will be issued identity cards, Patnaik said.

The kendu leaf pluckers belong to BPL families and Odisha government has always been working for their welfare and for other employees in the sector.

“Odisha is the first state in the country to give bonus to kendu leaf pluckers. This policy has become a model for other states,” he said.

BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra attacked BJP on Tuesday accusing it of cheating farmers across the country.

“You(BJP) cheated kendu leaf workers who are men and women mostly from the BPL families. When the GST was at five per cent on kendu leaf they had a decent living. But you (BJP) increased it to 18 per cent and impacted their source of earning. Isn’t this cheating?” Patra said. PTI AAM KK KK

Recommended Articles