The Raman Singh-led Chhattisgarh
government would be doling out bonuses
worth Rs 274 crore to tendu leave collectors, located in areas affected by left-wing extremism (LWE) in the state.
The move, which is being called the “green gold” collection, is slated to benefit around 1.4 million tendu leave collectors
in Chhattisgarh- a majority of whom reside in areas considered to be a stronghold of Naxal rebels.
The state government has launched the ‘Tendu leaves bonus tyohar (festival)’, which took off from December 2 and is slated to end on December 11. Around 14 programmes will be held in different districts and developmental head-quarters within the state. Chief Minister Raman Singh
will be attending the festival along with several other state cabinet members.
The event started from Bijapur in Bastar, which is one of the most LWE-affected regions in the country.
have called for a mass boycott of the state government-sponsored bonus distribution programme.
People are, however, turning up for the event in large numbers, reflecting good will for the State.
“In Sukma district’s Chindgarh area that is considered to be the den of Naxalites, more than 30,000 people attended the programme,” Singh said, while adding the people of Chhattisgarh
have proved they would not bow down to any pressure from rebels.
The state government is likely to gain from the move, as authorities make inroads to the Naxal heartland.
Last year, Chhattisgarh
produced about 1.64 million standard bags of tendu leaves, which is nearly 20 per cent of the total production of the country. Of the total production, around 60 per cent is produced in the LWE-affected districts.
The collection of tendu leaves provides seasonal employment to several households in the state. Families need to get registered with the state’s over 900 primary forest produce co-operative societies.