'Odisha Rasagola' bags much-awaited GI tag

(Eds: Adding details, quotes of CM and others) Bhubaneswar, Jul 29 (PTI) Odisha on Monday bagged the much-awaited Geographical Indication (GI) tag for its 'Rasagola', a syrupy confectionery made of cottage cheese, official sources said. The Registrar of Geographical Indications, Chennai, has issued a certificate registering the sweetmeat as 'Odisha Rasagola' under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999. The certificate will be valid till February 22, 2028, the sources said. A GI tag recognises a product as distinctive to a particular locality or region. Welcoming the development, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said 'rasagola' is loved by the Odiyas across the globe. "Happy to share that #Odisha Rasagola has received GI Tag in Geographical Indication Registry. This mouthwatering culinary delight made of cottage cheese, loved by Odias across the world, is offered to Lord Jagannath as part of bhog since centuries," Patnaik tweeted. Union Petroleum and Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said 'Odisha rasagola' is an inseparable part of Odia culture and cuisine. "Offered to Lord Jagannath as bhog, the #OdishaRasagola is an inseparable & ancient part of Odia culture & cuisine. GI tag for #OdishaRasagola is yet another time for us Odias, to celebrate with a bite of the mouthwatering delicacy," Pradhan tweeted. Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Pradipta Naik claimed that the state should have earned the tag long ago. "It got delayed due to negligence on the part of the state government," the BJP leader said. Since 2015, Odisha has been embroiled in a bitter battle over the origin of the delicacy with West Bengal, which had in 2017 secured the GI tag for 'Banglar Rasogolla'. The application for the GI tag for 'Odisha Rasagola' was moved by Odisha Small Industries Corporation Limited (OSIC), together with Utkal Mistanna Byabasayee Samiti (association of sweetmeat traders) in 2018. Odisha's MSME minister Dibya Shankar Mishra said the GI tag has made every Odia proud. 'Rasagola' has been a part of the state's centuries-old rituals performed for Lord Jagannath and found its mention in a 15th century Odia epic 'Dandi Ramayana'. As per the rituals of "Niladri Bije", 'rasagola bhoga' is traditionally offered to Devi Lakshmi on behalf of Lord Jagannath. Legendary writer Fakir Mohan Senapati had written about 'rasagola' in Utkal Bhramanam, which was published way back in August, 1892. The popularity of the confectionery can also be gauged from a travelogue written by Senapati in 1904. Noted researcher Asit Mohanty, who had submitted a report to the government claiming that 'Rasagola' has been mentioned in ancient Odia literature, said people in the state had been relishing the sweetmeat for more than 500 years. PTI AAM SKN RMS RCJ