Madhya Pradesh: Madhya Pradesh condemns Punjab's opposition to GI tag for basmati rice to the state

The Madhya Pradesh government condemned Punjab's opposition to the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for basmati rice being given to Madhya Pradesh, by claiming that the state has "written recorded history since 1908" of production of the rice variant in 13 districts.

Earlier, amid MP's push for getting GI tag for basmati, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had written to the Center seeking the Prime Minister's intervention and not allowing this in the larger interest of all the other states which are already basmati GI tagged.

Singh had claimed that giving GI tag to MP would lead to dilution, which might give an advantage to Pakistan in the international market.

"Govt of Madhya Pradesh strongly condemns the letter written by the Punjab Chief Minister to PMO India regarding allotment of GI tagging of basmati rice to 13 districts of the state," a tweet by the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) Madhya Pradesh read.

"Madhya Pradesh has a written recorded history since 1908 of Basmati production in 13 districts. Records of supplying seeds to farmers in Madhya Pradesh in the year 1944 is recorded in the records of Scindia state," it added in subsequent tweets.

The MP CMO, in a series of tweets, further said that the Indian Institute of Rice Research, based in Hyderabad, has recorded production of basmati in since the last 25 years, and also added that exporters from both Punjab and Haryana have been procuring the rice variant from Madhya Pradesh.

It added that the "Government of India has been supplying breeder seeds of basmati rice to Madhya Pradesh from 1999" and further asserted that the GI tag issue should not be made into a Punjab vs Madhya Pradesh tussle.

The MP government said that the tag would be a matter of pride for the state's farmers, a recognition of their hard work, and will also "provide stability to basmati prices in international markets and boost our exports."

(With inputs from agency)

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