Chennai: West Bengal won the Geographical Identification (GI) battle over rosogolla in a bitter tussle with Odisha since 2015, with the GI authorities in Chennai ruling that Bengal is the origin of the sweet.
“The GI authorities have ruled today that West Bengal is the origin of rosogolla. It has been settled under the GI Act that authenticates a product relating to either a geographical location, or community or society,” said Sanjay Bhattacharya, deputy controller of patents and designs in Kolkata.
The debate over the origin of the rasgulla — as it is known in north India — is not merely about Bengali and Odia sentiments. The bragging rights may translate into good business for confectioners in the two states.
A GI tag is a sort of intellectual property identifier recognising the origin of a product. The GI registration office is based in Chennai.
Odisha and Bengal have been locked in a bitter fight over the GI registration of rosogolla since 2015.
“The victory came after a long fight over two years and a half. I am happy and relieved,” said Abdur Rezzak Mollah, food processing minister in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet, told HT. A delighted Mollah said the sweet is his favourite, but high blood sugar prevents him from eating it.
“Earlier we fought successfully with other states to get the GI registration for Joynagarer Moa, a popular winter snack made of puffed rice and palm jagarrey,” added Mollah.
“Odisha unnecessarily raised a dispute over the issue,” said Partha Chatterjee, education minister.
“I thank chief minister Mamata Banerjee for her proactive role. She asked her officers to get in touch with us in 2015 when Odisha tried to get the GI registration in their favour. The government took all related documents and information from us to authenticate the claim that Nabin Chandra Das was indeed the inventor of rosogolla,” Dhiman Das, director of K C Das Pvt Ltd and a great great grandson of Nabin Chandra Das (1845-1925).
“The state government has borne the entire expenditure of the fight,” added Das.
Only last week Mollah said the state government will not “let Odisha claim the credit” for developing the rosogolla.
“Bengal is the origin of rosogolla... We have decided to move court. Let the court decide. We will pursue the matter till the very end,” Mollah had said.
In 2015 when Odisha’s science and technology minister Pradip Kumar Panigrahi told media that more than one committee set up to trace the origin of the dessert pointed to ‘conclusive evidence’ that rosogolla existed in the state for about 600 years.