Assam’s Gamosa to make bid for Geographical Indication registration
Gamosa, Assam’s traditional multipurpose towel that occupies a special place in Assamese culture, is soon going to make a bid to get itself registered as an item having Geographical Indication (GI) – a form of Intellectual Property Right (IPR). The State Handloom and Textiles Directorate has initiated the process and engaged the Patent Information Centre (PIC) of the government-run Assam Science Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC) to take the required steps for the purpose.
Gamosa is facing a serious threat to its existence in Assam because of nefarious trade practices by some outside-the-State textile factories. It is expected that the GI registration certificate would prevent plagiarising of gamosa by such factories.
Mizanur Rahman, Additional Director of Handloom and Textiles, told this correspondent, “We are trying to secure GI registration for Assam’s gamosa. We have been preparing to apply for the GI registration of this valued item of Assamese cultural heritage since August. The formal meeting of the technical officers of our Directorate was held for the purpose on August 15 last.”
He informed that the ASTEC PIC, which has the expertise in this respect, has been asked to collect all the information and prepare the documents required for the purpose. The Handloom and Textiles Directorate is also placing a request before the State government to provide the required funds in this connection. It is estimated that the entire process of securing a GI registration certificate for gamosa would involve a cost of around Rs 1 lakh, Rahman informed.
The ASTEC PIC had secured GI registration of State’s muga silk in 2006, which was the first item from the NE region to get a registration certificate from the GI Registry of India. The ASTEC PIC has also been working on securing patents for 68 items and GI registration for State’s Boka Chaul and Assamese jewellery, besides gamosa. Six of the items it applied for patent registration are already granted, while Boka Chaul is in the final stage of securing GI registration.
The Handloom and Textile Directorate has proposed that the GI registration should cover all varieties of gamosas like the phulam (embroidered), the anakata (the gamosa woven for some special rituals without effecting any cut), the tiyoni (the gamosa used while bathing) varieties, etc.
For the past several decades, the authorities concerned in the State have been facing a lot of criticism from several quarters for their failure to check entry of plagiarised gamosas produced by textile factories of other states. Such gamosas are produced in power looms and hence they are cheaper than the gamosas produced by the State weavers in their handlooms, and, have thus been affecting the State’s handloom sector.
Gamosa, Assam’s traditional multipurpose towel to get itself registered as an item having Geographical Indication