Chhattisgarh purchased 98% of the total forest produce amid lockdown

Chhattisgarh government has claimed to have purchased 98% of the country’s total forest produce amid the lockdown restrictions imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.

The data released by the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) showed that small forest produce worth more than Rs 18.63 crore have been purchased from forest-dwellers and villagers, the state government claimed.

“The number of forests produces purchased at the support price was increased from Rs 7 to Rs 25. Tendu leaf collection rate increased to Rs 4,000 per standard bag. Chhattisgarh accounted for 98% of the total forest produce purchased across India. In the current season, there’s a target of collecting 16.71 lakh standard sacks of tendu leaves that will benefit about 12.53 lakh collectors. A total of Rs 649 crore will be paid directly to them as remuneration. The state government is giving an additional incentive of Rs 13 per kilogram for the fixed support price of mahua flower at Rs 17 per kilogram,” a government press release said.

The state government claimed that 139 Van Vikas Kendras have been set up that have created jobs for 1,390 women.

“A budgetary provision of Rs 155 crore has been sanctioned for primary processing of minor forest produce to eradicate unemployment in the Bastar division. Imli and cashew processing centres and charota beej collection centres have been established at Jagdalpur,” the release added.

The state forest department is planning to engage 4,00,000 bamboo tree guards, involving tribal youth.

The cultivation of medicinal plants is also providing job opportunities in the state, the government claimed.