State starts process to seek GI registration for Sitalpati mats of Cooch Behar
Kolkata: The state government has initiated the process for seeking Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Sitalpati or cool mat from Cooch Behar district of Bengal.
A team comprising officials from West Bengal Khadi and Village Industries Board (WBKVIB) and district officials visited Tufanganj recently in order to collect valuable data for GI registration. This data collection is of utmost importance in establishing exclusivity of the product, which is the most important element for GI tag. Sitalmati mats are made up of weaved green cane slips of murta plants, which are indigenous to the region. It is used traditionally for sleeping and sitting. It gives a cooling effect during summer months. There are various kinds of Pati like Kamalkosh (the best of Pati in terms of finesse), Mihi Sital, Bhushnai Pati, Mota Sital, Dalar Pati etc. They are also used for making bags, folders, hats, mobile covers, table mats, coasters, lamp shades, panels and other home décor items.
Nearly 30,000 artisans are engaged in making Sitalpati. Generally, the men slash green canes (muthra reed), locally called Mukta, into thin slices. The women weave the slices.
Assam had recently sought GI tag for Sitalpati but failed to achieve the same.
"Certain data that have been collected during field visit at Tufanganj has been sent for laboratory testing. Once we receive the report, we will do the necessary documentation and submit the requisite document for GI," a senior official of WBKVIB said.
Sitalpati has already been recognised as an "intangible cultural heritage" by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).