MP govt to move SC over GI tag for Basmati-growing regions

Bhopal: The Madhya Pradesh government has decided to approach the Supreme Court to challenge the Madras High Court’s ruling in the matter of not providing GI (geographical indication) tag to the state’s Basmati rice- growing regions, state minister Kamal Patel said on Friday.

Earlier this year, the state government and a Basmati growers association lost two separate cases in the Madras high court filed in 2016, challenging the exclusion of 13 districts of the state from a map submitted by the Agriculture and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) for GI tags.

“We are traditional growers of high-quality basmati rice. However, our farmers have not been getting the right price for the produce because of the lack of GI (geographical indication) tag,” the state agriculture minister said.

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Earlier, the Congress government did not take the matter seriously, which is why the court ruled against the interest of the state’s farmers, he alleged.

After reviewing the situation, the matter has been filed in Supreme Court on May 28 and the hearing will begin soon, Patel said, adding that the government will take all possible measures to protect the interest of farmers.

The matter dates back to 2008 when the APEDA filed an application before the Chennai-based assistant registrar of GI seeking GI-Tag for the basmati rice.

In 2010, the state government had opposed the APEDA’s application on the ground that it had excluded 13 basmati- producing districts, following which the authority directed APEDA to again file its application along with a map clearly showing areas where the rice is actually cultivated.

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However, the APEDA moved to Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) against the authority and since then the litigation in the matter is on.

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