Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) on Saturday said its firmness has forced e-commerce portals like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and others to remove over 160 web links selling products in the brand name of 'Khadi'.
The development comes in wake of KVIC serving legal notices to over 1,000 firms using 'Khadi India; brand name to sell their products and thus causing damage to its reputation and the loss of work to artisans, it said.
"After KVIC served legal notice, Khadi Global has also discontinued using its website www.khadiglobalstore.com and also removed its social media pages on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and have sought 10 days time to remove all such contents and product using the brand name," it said in a statement.
KVIC action has also resulted in shutting down a number of stores across the country that were selling fake Khadi products, it claimed. "KVIC firmness has forced e-commerce portals like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and others to remove over 160 web links selling products in the brand name of Khadi," it said.
These e-commerce portals were selling products like Khadi masks, herbals soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, herbal mehandi, jackets, kurta and many such products through different sellers using this brand name. "This created a false impression among online buyers that these commodities were genuine Khadi products," it said.
KVIC also stated that a majority of the products that have been removed were being sold by one Ayush E-Traders. This firm has confirmed to KVIC that it has removed 140 links for various products that were being sold as 'Vagad's Khadi Products'.
Further it said that there has been a steep rise in violation of Khadi trademark as the popularity of Khadi grew manifold in the recent years after the Prime Minister's appeal to buy these products.
"Exploiting this opportunity, a number of online sellers began selling random products in the name of Khadi. Also hundreds of stores mushroomed in different cities that were selling fake products," it said.
It added that in recent months, particularly during the COVID-19 lockdown, there was a huge proliferation of such fraudulent online sellers. However, to enable online customers to buy genuine products, the commission has launched its e-portal.
KVIC chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said the commission has given violators the option of either stop selling products in the name of Khadi or legal action will be initiated for recovery of heavy damages.
"Legal notices have been issued to various firms essentially to safeguard the interest of Khadi artisans. This trademark violation has a direct bearing on the livelihood of our artisans who are making genuine handcrafted products," Saxena said.
It has employed a dedicated legal team to ensure a systematic and continuous monitoring and takedown of unauthorised products being sold in the name of Khadi.
KVIC is also educating all registered Khadi institutions engaged in manufacturing products that simply their registration with KVIC did not authorise them to re-authorize any one to use 'Khadi' trademarks or 'Khadi India' logo unless that firm or company obtains proper licence from KVIC for the same.
Last month, KVIC issued legal notices to two firms Khadi Essentials and Khadi Global for unauthorisedly selling cosmetics and other products in the name of Khadi. "KVIC has also sought damages to the tune of Rs 500 crore from Fabindia which is pending before the Mumbai High Court," it said.