Asia

GI tag for Basmati: Shivraj-Amrinder war ropes in PM, Sonia

NEW DELHI: A demand for GI (geographical indication) tag for Basmati rice grown in Madhya Pradesh has triggered a bitter battle between BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh seeking the tag and Congress-ruled Punjab opposing the move.
With both the chief ministers — Shivraj Singh Chouhan (MP) and Amrinder Singh (Punjab) writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi — Singh writing first asking him to intervene and disallow GI tag to the Basmati variety from MP and Chouhan writing to overrule Singhs demand on Thursday.
Chouhan, unwilling to give up on the issue, has on Friday written to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi complaining against Singhs objection to the GI tag for the MP grown Basmati. "It saddens me to tell you that the Chief Minister of Congress-ruled Punjab Amarinder Singh has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking not to give GI tag to basmati rice grown in Madhya Pradesh… That letter is unfortunate. What Amarinder Singh ji asking is anti-farmer and it shows the Congress's anti-farmer nature," Mr Chouhan said in the letter.
A “Pakistan angle” to this domestic fight between two states over GI tag for Basmati rice from MP, has escalated the issue to another level altogether. Singh said any dilution of GI tag registration may end up with Pakistan taking advantage in the international market. Pakistan also grows GI tagged basmati rice for sale in the global market.
Countering this argument, Chouhan said, "The case of APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority) with Pakistan has no relationship with Madhya Pradesh's claim as it is under the GI Act of India. It is not connected to inter-country claims of basmati rice."
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