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Assam items need GI protection


GUWAHATI, March 31 - Assam has a lot of items that need to be protected with registration under Geographical Indication (GI) so as to prevent theft of their ownership rights and also to ensure proper exploitation of their potential for the development of the State�s economy, said experts in GI registration here.

These experts are of the opinion that agricultural products like kuji thekera, kagji nemu or kaji tenga, poraamlokhi, poniyol, leteku, bhimkol, robabtenga, sokolatenga, bora chaul, bhedailota, manimuni, tengeshishak, etc., need the protection under GI registration. These items are unique to Assam and they have been found to have immense medicinal values.

Similarly, textile goods like the Assamese gamoha, dokhona, Mising gamosa, arnai, mekhela-chadar, etc., also need such protection. These items are also unique to Assam and they have exquisite aesthetic as well as intrinsic cultural values.

Besides, various traditional delicacies like jon pitha, tel pitha, chunga pitha, chunga doi, makhana, local brews like saaj, apong, rohi, chhai mod (the Mising beer), etc., are closely linked to the festivals and culture of the people of Assam. Such items may be good contenders for GI and they have high potential to boost export and thus economy of the State and finally the living standard of its people, assert the experts.

A GI right provides a collective right to the community of producers of a particular item unique to a specific place or region. But the prospective applicants of a GI should have in their plans many things like availability of fund, manpower, support, facility, etc., to the make the GI rights effective, said the experts.

Registering a GI right is not a race but a willingly taken responsibility for the sake of the producers of the goods or items of the region to which they are unique. The objectives of a GI include purification of the production chain of the goods or items concerned, uniting the people connected with the production of such goods or items and to take the goods or items concerned to the international market.

At present, there are five items from the State which have been registered with the GI Registry of the country. These items include � muga silk of Assam (done by the Patent Information Centre of the Assam Science Technology and Environment Council), Assam (Orthodox) tea (by the Tea Board of India), Assam Karbi Anglong ginger and Tezpur litchi (by NERAMAC) and the joha rice of Assam (recently done by the Assam Agricultural University). Many more GI applications from Assam are in the pipeline for registration.

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