Banglar Rasogolla, Mamallapuram stone sculptures get GI tag

Odisha has been engaged in a battle of ownership over the white, spongy sweet

Updated - November 14, 2017 07:04 pm IST

Published - November 14, 2017 05:48 pm IST - COIMBATORE:

Kolkata,                               Date: 26/07/2016.
Rasogolla at Balaram Mullick and Radharam Mullick Sweets in Kolkata.
Photo: Ashoke Chakrabarty

Kolkata, Date: 26/07/2016. Rasogolla at Balaram Mullick and Radharam Mullick Sweets in Kolkata. Photo: Ashoke Chakrabarty

The Geographical Indication (GI) Registry and Intellectual Property India on Tuesday presented the Geographical Indication Tag status to Banglar Rasogolla of West Bengal and Mamallapuram stone sculptures of Tamil Nadu. West Bengal was involved in a lengthy battle with Odisha, which too had claimed Rasogolla as its invention.

When contacted, Head of office of Geographical Indications Intellectual Property India Chinnaraja G. Naidu confirmed that the GI tag had been given to both.

The GI tag conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness which is essentially attributable to the fact of its origin in a defined geographical locality, region or country. Under Articles 1 (2) and 10 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, geographical indications are covered as an element of IPRs. They are also covered under Articles 22 to 24 of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement, which was part of the agreements concluded at the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations.

India, as member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999 that came into force from September 15, 2003.

The Directorate of Food Processing Industry of West Bengal had applied (number 533) on September 8, 2015 seeking the GI status for Banglar Rasogolla. After due procedure (examination, objections, hearing, opposition and appeal) compliance, the same was published in the GI Journal No 99 on July 14, 2017. The GI tag was finally conferred on Tuesday.

Officials say the ongoing row between West Bengal and Odisha over the ownership of Rasogolla could get renewed again. While Odisha never approached the Registry for the GI tag, it has been making claims of ownership over the sweet. Odisha made a claim on September 19 when West Bengal filed an application for the GI tag.

While West Bengal believes that the Rasogolla was invented in Calcutta by confectioner Nabin Chandra Das, Odisha says it was invented in the holy city of Puri in the 13th century.

West Bengal in its application had provided proof of origin — historical records dating back to 1896. The size of the mouth watering, spongy, white or half white syrupy dessert made of pure chhana dumpings varies from 3.7 to 6.2 cm and is in a ball like shape, says the description.

According to one of the documents submitted by West Bengal citing historical evidence, Rasogollas invented in the Nadia district of West Bengal are 60 years old (lower end time frame). Haradhan, a confectioner of village Phulia is named as the inventor. West Bengal has given half-a-dozen historical evidences to back its claim.

Similarly, the Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation had applied (number 426) on May 31, 2013 seeking the GI tag status for Mamallapuram stone sculptures. After compliance to procedures, it was also published in the same journal.

Tamil Nadu in its application stated that sculptures from Mamallapuram are known to be carved in stone with characteristics of intricate designing chiselled finely, keeping with the spirit of the surrounding Pallava art and architecture. Idols from mythology or of deities depict divinity. The description includes cave architecture, rock architecture, structural temples, open sculptures, relief sculptures and painting/portrait sculptures.

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