Sargur (Karnataka), Mar 11: A group of tribes in Kakanakote reserve forest aresing Lantana weed growing there to make household articles.
The Jenu Kurubas, Yaravas and other tribes who have been displaced have taken up making a range of products using Lantana. Puttamma, a tribal leader who has been displaced along with thousands of tribes from the forest finds using Lantana to augment their traditional skills. "We used to do artifacts using Bamboo but it is not available and the forest department doesn't allow us. We now found lantana as an alternative to bamboo. Forest department has no objection to clear this weed," Puttamma added.
Talking to to the sources that Dr. Balasubramaniyan, President of Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, an NGO who trained these tribes to imbibe their traditional skill said that Lantana was an alternative to the survival of these tribes.
"It can be ingeniously converted into a range of various products including toys, furniture and home decor items. You can take your pick from chairs, coffee tables, garden tables and chairs, bookshelves, magazine racks, baskets of all sizes and so on." he added.
Lantana, regarded as one of the world's 10 most invasive weeds, is almost impossible to control, and has colonised continents from South America to Africa to Asia. It got its stranglehold over India when the British introduced it as an ornamental plant in 1807.
In fact over 60 percent of the forest has been gobbled up by this deadly weed in the Western Ghats.