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Govt bid to revive historic muga silk culture in State

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, July 21 - The State Government has �, in brief �ASOM�, in order to revive the historic muga silk culture of the State. This was revealed by Minister of Science and Technology Keshab Mahanta.

The Minister, who is also holding the portfolios of Water Resource and Information Technology, was inaugurating a workshop on authorised user registration for the Geographical Indication (GI) No. 55/385 � Muga Silk of Assam at the Sualkuchi Institute of Fashion Technology recently.

According to an official press release issued here today, the workshop was organised by the Patent Information Centre (PIC) of Assam Science Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC) in association with Sualkuchi Tat Shilpa Unnayan Samiti.

It was aimed at creating awareness among the local muga silk producers of Sualkuchi regarding the registration for authorised users of muga GI logo which is a symbol of purity of muga silk and its indigenous origin.

Speaking on the occasion, Mahanta explained the objectives of �ASOM�. The mission will have a 10-year duration. In the first three years, the government muga farms on the brink of extinction will be identified and extensive som plantation will be done.

In the second stage, efforts will be made for expansion of the muga industry, production of muga cocoon, improvement of tools, design and marketing aspects of muga silk items. The overall aim is to increase the production of muga silk by 10 folds in the next decade.

The workshop began with a welcome address by Nihar Ranjan Kalita, secretary, Sualkuchi Tat Shilpa Unnayan Samiti. Kalita requested ASTEC and the Science the Technology Department to extend their support so that the participants can utilise this opportunity to register as authorised users of muga silk. Niranjali Kakoty, Principal, Sualkuchi Institute of Fashion Technology, said in her address that care should be taken while buying muga silk products and the buyers should always look for the GI Logo for ascertaining the genuineness of the products.

In the workshop, Dr MB Sarma, Assistant Director, Central Silk Board, Guwahati spoke on the strength of Silk Mark and Muga GI Logo and how having a GI logo in addition to Silk Mark can indicate the purity of muga silk. She also appraised the audience of the Silk Testing Laboratory at Sualkuchi where people can verify the authenticity of silk clothes.

Dr RK Barman, Nodal Officer, PIC, ASTEC, spoke on the finer details of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) with special reference to the Geographical Indications (GI). Muga Silk of Assam, the State�s first GI, which was obtained by the Patent Information Centre of ASTEC in 2006.

The Patent Information Centre is now the registered proprietor of the GI in Part A. The genuine producers of muga silk can register themselves as �Authorised Users� in Part B.

Director of ASTEC, Dr AK Misra emphasized on the importance of registering for the Authorised Users of GI on Muga Silk of Assam. He disclosed that till now, only 261 persons have come forward to take this opportunity to add value and purity to their muga items. Among them, 115 have already been registered for Muga Silk GI and the rest 146 are awaiting.

He further said that it is high time that the Assamese people realize the worth of their indigenous resources, secure them through Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and seek for value addition to promote them.

Later in the day, a detailed technical session on the steps to be taken for registering for Authorised Users of Muga Silk GI logo was put forward by Siddharth Devnath, Scientist-C, PIC, ASTEC. The local artisans, muga producers and entrepreneurs were motivated through an open interaction with live example of pure and counterfeit muga silk clothes. Examples of GI Logos like Darjeeling Tea, Kullu Shawl, Mysore sandal soap etc., and their successful implementation in products were shown. Offering the vote of thanks, Debashish Dutta, Scientist-B, PIC, ASTEC said that the Patent Information Centre is always open to the people of Assam for any help and suggestion required regarding securing their Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) including patent.

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