GUWAHATI, July 29 � It is feared that the State may get its Geographical Indication (GI) rights over muga withdrawn due to the absence of registered authorized users of this outstanding golden silk. The State got its GI rights over muga registered on July 20, 2006 for 10 years.
Expressing the above apprehension at a function organized by the GI Registry of the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry here today, Nodal Officer of the Patent Information Centre (PIC) of the Assam Science Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC) Dr Ranjit Kumar Barman said that muga is yet to get its registered authorized users.
If registered authorized users of the golden silk are not found soon, it is feared that this exceptionally brilliant silk may lose its GI registration. Muga is the first item on which the State could secure its GI rights. The PIC, ASTEC had done the entire work to get the item registered with the GI Registry with Assam as the sole producer State of the item.
Dr Barman said that only after getting the item�s authorized users registered with the GI Registry, the PIC, ASTEC can go for setting up the inspecting bodies as proposed by it in its GI application for registration of muga.
However, the PIC, ASTEC Nodal Officer had expressed the hope that since muga has become an inalienable part of Assamese culture, it is not going to disappear quickly.
It needs mention here that muga products are classified under clauses 23, 24, 25, 27 and 31 of the GI Act, 1999 of the country, when this golden silk was registered as a GI item.
The Central Silk Board is soon going to ascribe the Muga mark to the pure fabric of the golden silk with a view to saving the sector from adulteration. This golden silk from Assam is, meanwhile, gaining popularity in Japan also.
Inaugurating the function, ASTEC Director Dr SK Choudhury laid stress on generating awareness among the people on the benefits of GI registration. The registered authorized users will have to supply the quality products and hence the common people are going to benefit in the long run, he said.
Making a presentation on GI rights and the GI legislation of the country, on the occasion, GL Verma, Deputy Registrar of Trademarks and Geographical Indications, said that while in other countries agricultural products and wine varieties are registered as GI goods, in India, the scope for GI registration is vast, he said.
The economic potential of the goods registered under the GI Act of the country is enormous. These goods include, among others, pashminas of Kashmir, Kangra tea from the Himachal Pradesh, Phulkari from Punjab, Kanjeepuram sarees and Nilgiri tea from Tamil Nadu, Arnamula metal mirror and green cardamom from Kerala.
GI registration provides the registered proprietor and the authorized users the exclusive right to protect the registered goods, monopolise their markets and control the prices of the registered items, the Deputy Registrar said.
He made an appeal to the people of the State to identify all the potential GIs in the State and to organise the ventures to attain GI rights over those items.
Scientists and officials from the Institute of Advance Study in Science and Technology (IASST), Silk Board, State Sericulture Directorate and ARTFED and muga producers and users from various areas took part in the function.
Dr Barman announced that the PIC, ASTEC is ready to support the actual producers and users of muga in submitting their applications for registration as registered muga users to the GI Registry, Chennai.
Verma, Dr Barman and Dr Dipali Devi of the IASST interacted with the muga producers and users in the function. Muga user Dilip Barua offered the vote of thanks.