West Bengal has submitted the application for a (Geographical Indication) GI tag for the rosogolla to stake claim on the sugary delicacy and beat Odisha, a minister said.
“We have filed an application for GI on September 18 with full support from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee,” Rabiranjan Chattopadhyay, science and technology minister said.
The syrupy, soft spongy balls of Indian cottage cheese, the rosogollas, have virtually unleashed a war between two Indian states.
Both Odisha and West Bengal have entered the fray to stake their claim on the famed dessert. The Odisha government recently decided to form three committees which will counter Bengal’s claim as the birthplace of rosogolla.
But Chattopadhyay said the state government is not considering forming any such committees at the moment to counter the move.
Bengal is claiming that Nabin Chandra Das had introduced the sweet in 1868, while the Odisha government said the tradition of offering rosogolla by Lord Jagannath to Goddess Laxmi on the day of Niladri Bije (the day when the deities return to their abode after the annual Rath Yatra) is at least 300 years old indicating it was much older than the 150-year history of Bengal’s rosogolla.
“Bengal is the birth place of rosogolla and we prepared a detailed dossier on its origins based on evidence from Das family and historian Haripada Bhowmik. There is no question on the origins as far as Bengal is concerned,” the minister said.
On September 21 Odisha had set up three committees to study the origin of the delectable rosogolla and counter the claim of West Bengal which had already started the process to approach the central authorities for geographical indication (GI) over the syrupy sweet.
The Odisha government had asked the committees to furnish a report within 15 days so that it can move the Centre to claim the origin over the sweet.
“We have formed three committees. While the first committee will have seven members, the second committee will have four and the third will have six members. They will collect information about the origin of the rosogolla and examine the claim of West Bengal over the sweet,” state Science and Technology Minister Pradeep Panigrahi had said.
The committees have representatives from the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) and culture departments to prepare reports for officially claiming the origin of the sweet.
Panigrahi said the first committee would gather the facts regarding the origin, the second would study the basis of Bengal’s claim and the third would collect necessary papers to validate Odisha’s claim.
Sources said the MSME department has already roped in the Odisha Modernising Economy, Governance and Administration (OMEGA), a joint initiative of the state government and the Department for International Development (DFID) of Britain to study the process of the preparation of the rosogolla at Pahala in Khurda district.
The sweet has been a bone of contention between the two states.
The geographical indication (GI) identifies a product as originating from a particular location and conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness that is essentially attributable to the fact of its origin.