Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 13:
The battle to claim the syrupy sweet ball was taken a step ahead by Odisha after the businessmen selling the famous Pahala rasgolla came together to create a society.
A request letter has been submitted to Additional District Magistrate (ADM) for creation of the society. The businessmen have applied for creation of Pahala Rasgolla Production and Packaging Society. Only after this society is formed will the state be able to move further in claiming geographical indication (GI) status for the famous Pahala Rasagola.
Bhubaneswar DIC head Divya Singha Mishra, has said that the application for creating a society of Pahala Rasagola sellers was submitted three days ago. The application to the ADM will be processed very soon. Since around 60 families are dependent on the Pahala Rasagola, attempts are being made give it recognition and make it world class. Attempts have also been made to upgrade the status and branding of Pahala Rasagola. Creation of a cluster will open the way for GI status for Pahala Rasgola.
Pahala is a place between Bhubaneswar and Cuttack on the National Highway No 5 where there are rows of small shops on either side of the busy road making and selling the famous rasagola.
Meanwhile, the government is waiting for the report by Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDI) on Pahala Rasagola. After EDI submits the report, there will be discussion on how to present a case for GI status for Pahala Rasagola.
On the other hand, West Bengal has been working at a rapid speed to claim the spongy sweet as its own.
Armed with a dossier made by historian Haripada Bhowmick to back its claim as the place of origin of rasagola, an official of the Science and Technology department is reportedly all set to visit Chennai and approach the Intellectual Property authority to make its case for GI. West Bengal has built its case on the recorded history of the rasogolla, according to which Nabin Chandra Das, father of the famous KC Das has ‘invented’ this sweet in 1868.
Though there is a wealth of historical material available to prove Rasagola was served in Lord Jagannath temple making the sweet in Odisha three centuries old, if not older, the Odisha government has built its case on the Pahala Rasgola, a strategy that experts fear could backfire since the history of the stuff available at Pahala goes back no further than 70-80 years. The Bengal rasagola, in contrast, has a recorded history of over 150 years and is thus on firmer ground in the battle for the GI recognition, they point out.
But the Odisha government argues that GI status will not be given on ancient scriptures. Therefore, it hopes to prove that Pahala Rasagola is an established small-scale industry. With attempts now being made to form a society the state has taken a step closer to victory.