Sushanta Talukdar

Guwahati: The golden-yellow Muga silk of Assam has been granted Geographical Indication (GI) registration by the GI Registry in Chennai.

The registration was done on July 20 on the basis of its uniqueness. It has been identified as a silk of given quality, reputation and characteristic, attributable to the geographical area of Assam since time immemorial.

A formal presentation of the registration to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is scheduled here on Thursday. This is the first instance of a product from Assam receiving GI registration.

The application for registration was filed by the Patent Information Centre of the Assam Science Technology and Environment Council, which is now its registered proprietor on behalf of the Government of Assam.

GI marks out a designated product of a definite geographical territory and is used to identify agricultural, natural or manufactured goods originating from the territory. Such registration confers legal protection in India and the world over, prevents unauthorised use, boosts exports and benefits producers in a given geographical territory. The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 gives the right to register a protected name to three categories of persons — the actual producers and groups of such producers of goods specified in the geographical area, groups of consumers, and any competent authority.

About 40 registered products exist in India under the GI Registry, including Mysore silk, Darjeeling Tea, Alphonso mango and Basmati rice.

Muga silk is obtained from the silkworm Antheraea assamensis found in Assam. It has a natural golden colour and lustrous texture, and id durable. Its sheen increases with every wash.

The Muga mekhela-chador is a traditional dress of Assamese women for bihu dances and weddings. It is in demand in Japan to make kimonos, and in countries such as the U.S., Greece, Germany, South Africa and France.

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