Keonjhar, October 15 (Odisha.in) Hundreds of workers engaged in kendu leaves trade Monday staged demonstration here in front of the office of a top forest official demanding their pending wages and job.
The workers under the banner of “Orissa Kendupatra Karmachary Sangha (OKKS) staged the demonstration in front of the office of the divisional forest officer (kendu leaves) at Keonjhar.
The administration has closed at least 90 warehouses as a result of which the workers have become unemployed. Besides it has also not paid them their daily wages, divisional secretary of the Sangha Rohit Chaudhury told Odisha.in.
The demands made by the workers are baseless. We already have taken steps to fulfill their demands” the local divisional forest officer said.
Under Keonjhar vision there are at least 8 ranges. They include places in the districts of Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Angul, Dhenkanal.
Although the government has made provision to provide shoes to the Kendu leaves workers the local administration is not providing them here, Chaudhury alleged.
” The business of Kendu leaves fetch crore of rupees to the state exchequers but on the other hand the persons engaged in making it profitable are being neglected, he alleged.
The government has nationalised Kendu leaves trade in 1973. The labor expenditure per quintal is about Rs.1200/-, where as the government is getting revenue more than thrice.
The state has made profits from this business about Rs. 32 crores in 2005. It has gone up to 147 crore in subsequent year, he said.
If the government does not fulfill our demand we will go for a hunger strike, he said.