The famed Baluchari silk sari of West Bengal is in the list of items for which the government will be seeking protection under the Geographical Indication Protection Act.
According to K Rangrajan, head of the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), the Baluchari sari occupies the top priority among the list of products eligible for GI Protection. The Baluchari is unique in its design with silk-brocaded narrative figurative motifs, inspired by Persian style, Hindu mythology with floral lotus buds (kalkas and kunjas) and is woven on traditional draw-boy-loom.
GD Gautama, principal secretary for micro & small-scale enterprises and textiles, said there are at present 82 registered GI products in India out of which only one belongs to West Bengal-Darjeeling tea. Gautama said that a list of products eligible for the GI protection has been prepared, and the Baluchari sari is one of the priority items.
Darjeeling tea is famed the world over for its unique aroma and flavour and the first product to get protection under the GI Act, which protects the uniqueness and the nature of a product that owes its origin and heritage to a particular geographical location.
Gautama was speaking at a workshop organised by the WTO cell of the IIFT Kolkata in association with the Indian Chamber of Commerce on Opportunities and Challenges of GI Protection in West Bengal.
He said the textiles and handicrafts of West Bengal have enormous potential as products that could be registered under the GI protection Act.