a new beedi leaf collection policy came into force in Andhra Pradesh from February 1. According to the state forest and environment minister, the government is implementing the plan with a view to ending the exploitation of workers by contractors by rendering the role of the latter marginal.
To reduce anomalies in the payment of wages, the government would pay the workers directly and would offer beedi leaf collection to youth groups, vana rakshana samitis (vss) or forest management groups and voluntary bodies. Of the 10,000 vss slated to be formed in the state in the next three years, 2,800 are already functioning. Under the vss scheme, seedlings of teak, tamarind and other plants are provided to the villagers. As the cost of maintenance for fruitbearing trees are high, these plants are offered to groups which are in a position to nurture them.
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