Finally, muga gets GI logo

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By OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
  • Published 28.04.14
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Guwahati, April 27: Muga silk of Assam, which is a GI (geographical indications) product, finally gets a logo while three handloom fabrics of Manipur get the same tag.

Geographical indication is a mechanism employed to identify agricultural, natural or manufactured goods which possess certain special qualities or characteristics based on the climatic or production conditions unique to a geographical location.

The logo was certified by the office of geographical indications under the ministry of commerce at Chennai recently.

Three traditional handloom fabrics of Manipur —shaphee lanphee, wangkhei phee and Moirang phee — have got the geographical indications status.

These products have been registered with the department of commerce and industries, Manipur.

The muga geographical indications logo has been registered with the patent information centre of Assam Science Technology and Environment Council.

Though muga got the geographical indications tag in 2007, it did not have the logo.

“The office of geographical indications (GI) has cleared it finally. The logo can be used for protection and authenticity of the product,” an official of the council said.

Another official said the logo was an add-on to the geographical indication tag.

Muga, a golden-yellow silk, is obtained from semi-domesticated multivoltine silkworm, Antheraea assamensis, and is found only in the Brahmaputra valley.

An inspection body has been formed to assess the quality of muga silk products according to the standards set in the geographical indication registration and will issue a certificate for the quality of the assessed products. These tasks shall be carried out whenever necessary, such as for authorised user registration, infringement cases and others.

As first step, about 20 authorised “users” will have to be registered. Users primarily means the families involved in cultivation of cocoons, weaving and people involved in post-production work. The users have to be registered under a legal body. Authorised users have the exclusive rights to protect the goods, monopolise their markets and control the prices of the items.

The user has to apply in writing in a prescribed form along with a fee to the geographical indications registry based in Chennai.

The body will also look at production of muga silk at the basic level by the producers — from quality rearing of silkworms to obtaining of quality cocoons. Thus maintaining the standards shall be monitored and any improper methods/attempts of degradation affecting the quality of the basic products shall be notified for legal action.

The body, comprising officials from the state government and the Central Silk Board, will look at development of technology for production of muga silk products and maintenance of quality.

“The products will be randomly checked at sales centres and if there is any violation, the inspection body will be informed and infringement action can be initiated,” an official said.