Manufacturers in Bengal will have to produce rasogollas hygienically if they want the protection of Geographical Indication (GI) for the sweetmeat, GI registry officials from Chennai who came to Kolkata on Monday for a “hearing” told the state government.
“Officials in West Bengal gave an hour-long presentation based on slide shows on how rasogollas are prepared in the state and why they want a GI tag for it. We have raised some questions regarding the hygiene maintained during preparation. We would soon submit an examination report with all our queries,” said Chinnaraja G Naidu assistant registrar of trade-marks and GI.
West Bengal had applied for a GI tag for ‘Banglar Rasogolla’ in September 2015. The state has filed applications for a few other products such as Sitabhog, Mihidana, Tualipanji and Gobindobhog which are pending. On Monday officials from the Chennai-based GI Registry - a wing of the Intellectual Property Office – who grant the GI tag came to Kolkata for a hearing.
“GI officials have raised some doubts. They have made it clear that manufacturers would have to be more hygienic while manufacturing the sweet if we want a GI tag for the product. We have assured them that we are concerned with the hygiene and food safety no matter how small the manufacturer is. We would submit a compliance report soon,” said a senior official of the science and technology department who was present in the meeting.
Other than hygiene, GI officials have also asked the state government to standardize the technical aspects of the rasogolla including the viscosity of the syrup, size, weight, colour and the sponginess of the sweet which is the unique specialty of ‘Banglar Rasogolla’.
The GI tag of goods acts as the claim to fame for a state. It identifies a product as originating from a particular location and conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness that is essentially attributable to the fact of its origin.
Out of the 272 products that have been received GI tags so far around 10 are from West Bengal. The list includes Darjeeling Tea, Laxman Bhog mango, Himsagar Mango, Fazli mango, Shantipur Saree, Baluchari Saree, Dhaniakhali Saree and Joynagar Moa among others. Foreign products such as Tequilla from Mexico, Cognac brandy from France and Scotch Whiskey from UK have also received GI tags.
Naidu also made it clear that there isn’t any fight over Rasogolla between West Bengal and Odisha. West Bengal has applied for GI tag for ‘Banglar Rasogolla’ and not for all kinds of Rasogollas.
“West Bengal claims that they have a unique type of Rasogolla which is known as Banglar Rasogolla. It is prepared in a unique way and has a different taste. It is different for Rasogollas made in Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi or any other state. There is no fight,” he added.