Toda tribal representatives on Thursday formally received a Geographical Indication certificate for their unique embroidery, which is known for its striking colours. District Collector Archana Patnaik handed over the certificate to the representatives at a function held here. The GI status was given in March by Chaitanya Prasad, Registrar of Geographical Indications. The recognition came after five years of effort by Toda Nalavaazhvu Sangham, Key Stone Foundation and Poompuhar (Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation).

The status not only ensures uniform pricing for Toda embroidery products but also insulates the art from being duplicated.

Of the nearly 1,600 tribal people in nearly 69 hamlets, a little more than 400 are said to be actively involved in embroidery. The product range has now widened from Pootkhulu (shawl) to wall hangings, table mat, shoulder bags and gents and ladies shopping bag.

GI is a name or a sign used on prized goods to indicate their specific geographical location or origin, says Mathew John, trustee, Keystone Foundation. The three organisations are the Registered Proprietors of the GI.

The art of Toda embroidery, known as ‘pukhoor,’ has been passed on to generations. Organisations such as the Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India have been facilitating training programmes.

The function was attended by Pratim Roy – director of Key Stone Foundation, Jailani of Win Lexis that supported the initiative for GI status, Prasanth from the Registry of Geographical Indications, Prem Kumar - Marketing Manager of Poompuhar, Geetha Srinivasan of INTACH, Dr. Tarun Chabra, patron of tribal community, and Kottradu Kuttan – Head of Toda Nalavaazhvu Sangham.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National