Popular ethnic footwear brand Kolhapuri chappal gets GI tag
Maharashtra’s extremely popular footwear brand Kolhapuri chappal has been given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag, which is likely to further boost its sale in other parts of the country and abroad.
The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (CGPDTM) has granted Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Kolhapuris (officially in March 2019) , the ethnic leather chappal (footwear)to four districts in each state of Maharashtra and Karnataka. These 8 districts are- Kolhapur, Sangli, Solapur and Satara districts of Maharashtra and Belgaum, Dharwad, Bagalkot and Bijapur districts of Karnataka.
A joint bid for GI tag was made by the Sant Rohidas Leather Industries & Charmakar Development Corporation Limited of Maharashtra (LIDCOM) and the Dr Babu Jagjeevan Ram Leather Industries Development Corporation of Karnataka (LIDKAR) in 2009 after a previous bid by Maharashtra was rejected.
Managing Director, LIDCOM, Rajesh Dhabre said the GI tag is a victory for artisans involved in producing Kolhapuris for generations. “Only authentic and genuine Kolhapuris should be available in stores the worldover,” he said.
Dhabre’s counterpart at LIDKAR, Prasad Abbayya, said the next step will be to help the craftsmen reap the benefits of GI tag. “We will open new training institutes to ramp up production. We will now market Kolhapuris aggressively around the world,” Abbayya said.
Artisans in Kolhapur, some of them 4th generation specialists in crafting Kolhapuris, welcomed the news. Sanjay Tapase, whose family trades in Kolhapuris, said while Kolhapur has more skilled artisans, Karnataka beats Maharashtra in bulk production of the famed footwear. He, however, added that with law acting against Kolhapuri knock-offs being produced in other parts of the country, the market for genuine product will expand. “Let artisans in both states benefit. There is no quarrel there,” Tapase said.
Kolhapuris are already an established brand abroad. In 2007 ToeHold, a brand of Kolhapuris produced by an all-women group of artisans in Athani, a tiny village in Belgaum district, bagging a $60,000 (Rs 25.8 lakh) order from a Russian firm.
More about Kolhapuri Chappal
- Kolhapuri Chappals are renowned for aesthetically pleasing look and known for decorative woven pattern fixed over upper bands of these Chappals.
- Kolhapuri Chappal are handmade open Indian footwear made of tanned vegetable leather produced using traditional technique and tools.
- In Kolhapuri Chappal all parts of chappal – sole, uppers and heel are from bag tanned vegetable tanned leather. Stitching of outer sole, insole and upper and heel with leather thread taken from bag tanned leather(Bag tanned leather, using babulbark and myrobalan fruits)is followed in most of the Kolhapuri Chappals, however, in recent times,in some places pasting is also followed.
- The Kolhapuri chappals are produced by chamers of Maharashtra and Karnataka from Geographical area of production.
History:Contrary to the perception that Kolhapuri chappals are manufactured mainly by the artisans from Maharashtra, a large number of artisans from Karnataka have also been making these chappals for a long time. As per GI application made by two states of Maharashtra and Karnataka, Kolhapuris can be traced back to 12th century when King Bijjal ruled Bidar (in Karnataka). King’s Prime Minister Vishwaguru Basavanna, wanted to create a casteless society and remove stigma attached to cobbler community, thus, the community embraced Lingayat faith and used its skills to start producing footwear that came to be known equally for its ruggedness and regal bearing. ‘Kolhapuri’ as a Brand was created only at beginning of 20th century when footwear began to be traded in Kolhapur (Maharashtra). Later, Chhatrapati ShahuMaharaj of Kolhapur encouraged its production and 29 tanning centres were opened during his rule in Kolhapur.
Nearly 5,000 people from villages in Belagavi, Bagalkote and even Dharwad are engaged in making Kolhapuri chappals at their houses. However, they have restricted access to flourishing domestic and international markets.
The artisans engaged in making these chappals have passed their trade secrets and skills from one generation to another
Benefits of GI Tag : It will help artisans export these chappals and also tie up with e-commerce giants such as Flipkart and Amazon. With GI tag now these local artisans get legal support. Thus, anyone who is going to copy this can be punished.
Significance of GI tag: Getting GI tag will open large markets, both domestic and international to artisans who produce Kolhapuris. Also, getting GI tag for Kolhapuri means that footwear produced only in these 8 districts will qualify to carry tag of being Kolhapuris.
Validity: The tag is valid for a period of 10 years following which it can be renewed.
GI India: Recently Union Minister of Commerce and Industry launched logo and tagline for Geographical Indications (GI) of India. The 1st product to get a GI tag in India was Darjeeling tea (2004). The sui generis Act for protection of GI in India is Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 (GI Act). This Act was enacted by India so as to comply with Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) by World Trade Organisation (WTO).
The complete list of GI tagged prodcuts can be found at http://www.ipindia.nic.in/writereaddata/Portal/Images/pdf/Registered_GI_01_04_19.pdf
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