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Rampachodavaram: Beedi leaf collection commences in Chinturu forest division
7,000 tribal people get work through beedi leaf collection
Rampachodavaram (Alluri Sitharama Raju District): Beedi leaf collection started on May 4 this season in three units - Nellipaka, Madhavaraopet and ED Palli areas of Chinturu division. The collection is in progress. Beedi or tendu leaf collection is one of the important sources of income for tribal people in Chintur division. During summer season, beedi leaf is obtained from the shoots of Tuniki (Diaspyros melonoxylon) tree, plants after pruning branches every year. Chintur division is known for its best leaf in the region. There is very good competition among the contractors for purchasing beedi leaf from Chintur division.
Every season, nearly 5,000 to 7,000 tribal people get employment and income through beedi leaf collection, said Chintur Territorial Divisional Forest Officer V Sai Baba. Depending on individual collection, on an average every individual gets Rs 4,000 to Rs 5,000 within 7-10 days during the season. This is a handful of income for the poor tribal people during the lean season.
The entire division area is divided into nine units with 200 Khallams (beedi leaf collection centres). The nine units are Nellipaka, Madhavaraopet, ED Palli, Kunavaram, Murumuru, VR Puram, Kun
duluru, Chintur and Lakkavaram. The beedi leaf is sold in the units of Standard Bags (SBs). Each standard bag contains 1,000 bundles of beedi leaf, each bundle carrying 50-55 numbers of beedi leaves.
The beedi leaf collectors demand an early schedule for collection as the contractors are not coming forward for beedi leaf collection with the leaf becoming harder and not suitable as the season gets delayed. "If the collection starts around second or third week of April, the leaf will be suitable and maximum collection can be achieved as still there will be sufficient temperature, heat without intermittent rains.
Before beedi leaf collection, the beedi leaf stumps have to be pruned in advance for 45 days to get fresh beedi leaf, which is suitable for manufacturing beedis," said Radhakrishna, beedi leaf collector, Tummala village. Leaf collector Appa Rao from Boddugudem expressed satisfaction over giving bonus and payment system. He said that even though the income is small, it is meeting their needs in the off-season. After getting permission from the Government this year, the beedi leaf sale was conducted under the chairmanship of the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Production) at Guntur on March 28. Nine units of Chinturu division were sold out. However, successful bidders for six units could not come in contact with the Forest department, for which units' resale is scheduled on May 19 as per the Advance Sale Notice Conditions, 2022 at Rajahmundry Forest circle office.