Bhopal(Madhya Pradesh): Business of tendu patta is declining with every passing year. It could be judged by the fact that the collection of tendu leaves was 23.37 lakh standard bags in 2017-18 and it dropped to 15.88 lakh bags in 2020-21, says officials of the forest department.
“Tendu leaves are used for making bidis. Of late, a southward trend has been observed in bidi business. Production of bidis has come down and because of that collection of tendu leaves too has gone down,” said Mohd Saleem, manufacturer of bidis. Saleem has diversified from his traditional bidi making business.
According to the figures provided by the Madhya Pradesh State Minor Forest Produce Federation, collection of tendu leaves in the year 2017-18 was 23.37 lakh bags. One standard bag means 1000 bundles of 50 tendu leaves each. Rs 590 crore was distributed as bonus amount that year among the pluckers engaged in this work. In the year 2018-19 as many as 19.15 lakh bags were collected and Rs 250 crore was distributed as bonus. Collection of tendu leaves registered a slight increase in the year 2019-20 where collection of bags rose to 21.06 lakhs bags but the bonus distribution sank down to Rs 125 crores. In 2020-21 the number of bags came down to 15.88 lakh and the bonus came down to Rs 67 crores.
Considering that collection of tendu leaves act as one of the major support for people dependent on forests for livelihood, the government has increased the rates from time to time. In the past five years, the rate of collection per bag has been doubled from Rs 1250 to Rs 2500.
The average annual production of Tendu Leaves in Madhya Pradesh is around 25 lakh standard bags, which is nearly 25% of the total Tendu Leaves production of the country. One standard bag of Tendu Leaves in Madhya Pradesh means 1000 bundles of 50 leaves each.