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GI tag to Rasagola: Odisha govt to furnish details by August first week

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Bhubaneswar: Amidst uncertainty looms over getting GI status to ‘Odishara Rasagola’, the State government is likely to comply the report at GI office in August.

The State government will submit data on Rasagola to GI authorities by first week of August, informed MSME Minister Prafulla Samal here today.

“We had sought another one month to submit details about Rasagola to get GI tag for ‘Odishara Rasagola’ by August 21. However, we are planning to furnish the documents at GI office by first week of August,” he said.

According to reports, the State MSME department had applied at the Geographical Indication (GI) Registry office in Chennai on Feb 23 this year, just ahead of Bijepur bypoll, seeking GI tag to ‘Odishara Rasagola’. Accepting the application, the GI office on June 22 served a notice to the government asking to submit the answer to 14-point questions related to ‘Odishara Rasagola’ by two months.

Meanwhile, the government has collected the data about the Rasagola makers and recorded the methods of preparing it to submit the report to GI office.

“The process is underway to provide the details sought from the GI office on Rasagola. We have collected the data about 435 Rasagola traders in the State. Besides, the video of Rasagola traders in Nimapara, Pahala and Salepur has been recorded involving the method of preparation and consumers’ feedback. The CD of the video and all the data will be submitted at the GI registry office within a scheduled time,” said MSME Managing Director Ratnakar Sahoo.

Earlier, a PIL was filed in Orissa High Court on February 5 this year by Susanta Sahu, Secretary of Punya Utkal Foundation and Santosh Kumar Sahoo, Editor of Odia Parba seeking GI tag for ‘Odishara Rasagola’ and scrapping the tag received by the West Bengal.

The high court of March 9 had served notice to Odisha Chief Secretary and West Bengal State Council of Science & Technology, Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) and Chennai Intellectual Property Office (IPO).

Sources said that Odisha government, SJTA, Chennai Intellectual Property Office (IPO), West Bengal State Council of Science & Technology were made parties in the PIL.

The GI office on March 16 issued a show-cause notice to the West Bengal State Food Processing & Horticulture Development Corporation asking it why the GI tag given to ‘Banglar Rasogolla’ will not be withdrawn.

The notice was served following an application for rectification or removal was filed by the Regional Development Trust chairman Ramesh Chandra Sahoo at GI’s Chhenai office.

The Bhubaneswar-based Trust alleged that West Bengal had received the GI status for ‘Banglar Rasogolla’ from GI Registry office by furnishing false evidence and data.

Notably, Odisha has been claiming that Rasagola links to traditions and practices associated with Lord Jagannath. The sweet desert existed in Odisha since 15-16th century as it has been mentioned in ‘Dandi Ramayana’.

Despite historical proof and evidence about origin of Rasagola, the state government did not proceed further to stake the claim that sweet had its origin in Odisha.