War over GI tag for MP Basmati: Shivraj Singh Chouhan complains to Sonia about Punjab CM

Vibha Sharma

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 7

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, complaining about Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s makes an attempt to “stall” GI tag for Madhya Pradesh Basmati. 

“It is with immense sadness that I wish to inform you that Chief Minister of Congress-ruled state, Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to ensure that the Basmati rice of Madhya Pradesh is not given a GI tag in the interest of Punjab and other states,” Chouhan mentioned in his letter to Gandhi.

In the two-page letter Chouhan additionally accused the earlier Kamal Nath-led Congress authorities in Madhya Pradesh of “playing with the sentiments of farmers in the state and not fulfilling the Assembly elections promise of loan waiver made by senior party leader Rahul Gandhi”.

“Why is your party so hostile towards Madhya Pradesh farmers,” Chouhan questioned a day after he “condemned” Amarinder Singh for writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi concerning Madhya Pradesh’s efforts to get the Geographical Indication tag for its Basmati rice. 

“I condemn the letter written to the Prime Minister by the Congress government of Punjab in the matter of GI tagging of Basmati rice of Madhya Pradesh and consider it politically inspired,” Chouhan mentioned on Thursday.

Also learn: Basmati GI tag struggle: MP CM ‘condemns’ Amarinder’s letter to PM Modi

“I wish to question the Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh, as to what hostility he has with the farmers of Madhya Pradesh. It is not a matter of Madhya Pradesh or Punjab, it is a matter of farmers of the entire country and their livelihood,” he mentioned.

Referring to the historic connection of Basmati rice of Madhya Pradesh, he had just lately urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to grant a GI standing to the state’s Basmati rice “to encourage farmers and Basmati rice based industries”.

In his letter to the PM, Amarinder Singh mentioned this could have an effect on the pursuits of Punjab and different states whose Basmati rice already has a GI tag.

However, in line with Chouhan, “Basmati is being produced in 13 districts of Madhya Pradesh since the year 1908. It has been registered in history. Basmati rice of Madhya Pradesh is considered very tasty and is famous both in the country and abroad for its flavours and fragrance.”

“The IIRR, Hyderabad, and other specialist institutions have confirmed reports in connection with the traditional cultivation of Basmati in Madhya Pradesh,” Chouhan talked about.

A GI tag is a sign used on merchandise which have a particular geographical origin and possess qualities or a popularity which are as a result of origin.

The tag conveys an assurance of high quality and distinctiveness and performs a significant position in commerce, enhancing its prospects. 

Geographical indications are usually used for agricultural merchandise, foodstuffs, wine and spirit drinks, handicrafts and industrial merchandise.  

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