Bhandara, There is good news for the tendu leaves collection workers of Vidarbha. In the meeting of the Council of Ministers on Tuesday, the state government has decided to give the full earnings of the season to the workers as incentive wages without any deduction from the tendu season of the current year. About 1.5 lakh laborer families who collect tendu leaves in the state are sure to be benefitted, while about 23,000 laborers in Bhandara district will get its benefit.
The objective of the Maharashtra Forest Produce (Regulation of Trade) Act, 1969 is to maintain effective government control over the trade of specified forest produce. Presently, as per the provisions of the said Act, the collection and disposal processes are carried out by tendupatta licensees in non-scheduled areas as well as in scheduled and collective forest rights approved forest areas as per the demand of gram sabhas. The laborers who collect tendu are paid a fixed wage. Apart from this, there is also a provision to disburse the ownership fee received from Tendupatta sale as incentive wages.
Administrative expenses of 33 crores
In the last ten years, an average administrative expenditure of Rs 33 crore has been spent on Tendupatta collection every year. Without deducting the administrative expenses in the amount of ownership fee collected from this year, if the workers get that amount as incentive wages, then it will help in increasing the income of the workers. Most of the labor families live below the poverty line, in forest villages with limited means of livelihood. The incentive wage amount will be paid to the concerned tendu collectors within one month of depositing the amount with the Forest Department.
23 thousand workers of the district will get benefit
There are about 23 thousand tendu collecting workers in Bhandara district, mostly women. Bhandara Territorial Forest Department Deputy Conservator of Forests Rahul Gawai told that the tendu collection has been done last year and bonus will be given this year. This bonus is directly deposited in the bank account of the worker. Although it used to take one year to get this bonus, but the new decision will make a big difference in the income of the workers. Jane labor families used to get 4 thousand rupees, now they will get 10 thousand rupees and those who used to get 10 thousand rupees, their income will reach 25 thousand rupees, which is a positive decision.