TEZPUR, Nov 21 - With its unceasing efforts during the last two years, Tezpur University (TU) in collaboration with Dibrugarh University conducted their second muga camp at Dhokuakhana in May 2016, which has resulted in the filing of 149 additional authorised Geographical Indications (GI) user applications of grassroot muga stakeholders in Assam. These applications were published in the Geographical Indications Journal No. 90 on November 17 last.
Muga silk was granted the GI status in 2007and was granted its GI logo in 2014. As per the Indian GI Act, only authorised users are allowed to mark their products with the GI logo and also call their product as muga.
Unfortunately till 2014, there were insignificant number of authorised users of Muga GI in Assam. Tezpur University initiated a long-term programme to facilitate the process of registering authorised users of Muga GI to a series of ground-level steps that culminated in the first Muga GI camp in 2015 in North Lakhimpur, which successfully resulted in the registration of 92 grassroots muga stakeholders as authorised users of Muga GI. These efforts have fructified in the registration of about 250 authorised users, thereby setting a new record of being the highest number of authorised users for any single GI in India.
The Tezpur University Intellectual Property Rights (TUIPR) Cell took up the task of sensitising the stakeholders about the benefits of securing Muga GI and encouraging them to complete the application process since 2014. With increased number of authorised users of the Muga GI, it is imperative that an inspection body be set up and equipped with the equipment and methods to identify genuine muga from adulterated muga so that the stakeholders of genuine muga products are able to mark their products with Muga GI logo and get a premium for their products.
The two universities are now focusing to make this a thrust area of this project. The task undertaken and executed by TUIPR Cell and Dibrugarh University are examples of the institutional social responsibility (ISR) of academic institutions in their efforts to attain academic excellence in parallelly contributing to the socio-economic development of the region, especially based on traditional skills and cultural values.