Women engaged by a non-governmental organisation (NGO) have made eco-friendly 'rakhis' from water hyacinth in West Bengal's Nadia district, one of its office-bearers said on Monday. NGO Eco Craft's secretary Swapan Bhowmik claimed it is a first-of-its-kind initiative and chemicals were not used for painting the 'rakhis'.
The members of a self-help group in Majhdia area have produced over 400 pieces of such 'rakhis', he said. The women were trained by craftsman Debasish Biswas who designed the 'rakhis' after collecting water hyacinth from ponds, Bhowmik said.
"Only those water hyacinth plants which have stems of at least 2.5-feet length can be used for making 'rakhis'. The plants are washed, leaves separated and the stems dried. The fibres inside the stems are then cut out for making 'rakhis'," he said.
A railway workers' union in Howrah district has ordered 100 water hyacinth 'rakhis', while 150 have been transported to Bandel in Hooghly district and another 150 sold
in Nadia district, Bhowmik said.
A water hyacinth 'rakhi' may cost Rs 5, 10 or 15 depending on its size, he said. The NGO had earlier made bags and ropes from water hyacinth, Bhowmik added.