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GI tagging of MP's Basmati will impact other states: Punjab CM

Chandigarh, Nov 3 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday opposed GI tagging of Madhya Pradesh’s 13 Basmati-producing districts, saying it was illegal and will “adversely affect” other states, and urged the Prime Minister to stop the move.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, Amarinder Singh urged him to direct the Commerce Ministry to drop the idea of issuing the Geographically Indication (GI) tag to the 13 districts.

Madhya Pradesh had sought inclusion in the list of regions eligible for GI tagging of Basmati rice.

The Chief Minister said two lakh Punjab farmers were engaged in Basmati cultivation and the issue was economically and socially significant.

The move could have a negative effect on agriculture in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, western Uttar Pradesh and Jammu and Kathua districts in Jammu and Kashmir, which are already GI-tagged.

Amarinder Singh said he had written to the then Union Minister of State for Commerce on April 18, highlighting Punjab’s concerns on the issue, but it was not resolved.

“As per the Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, a GI tag can be issued for agricultural, natural, or manufactured goods that have given quality reputation or other characteristics attributable to its geographical origin, thus constituting a very important form of intellectual property. A GI registration gives the registered proprietor and authorised users the legal right to exclusive use of the GI, and no unauthorised person can use the tag,” Amarinder Singh pointed out in his letter.

He said Basmati trials by the Indian Council for Agricultural Research are conducted only in traditional area for Basmati cultivation in the Indo-Gangetic plain in northern India.

The Basmati varieties released and notified under the Seed Act of 1966 are meant for cultivation in the specified GI areas as mentioned above, he added.

“Madhya Pradesh does not fall in the Indo-Gangetic plain, and the climate and soil of the proposed area varies from that of the area in Indo-Gangetic plain. Therefore, the move to include these 13 districts of Madhya Pradesh appeared to be an infringement of the Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999,” he added.

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