The Madhya Pradesh government has written a letter to the Centre, providing the details of the former's historical connection with basmati rice, according to a tweet by the state government today. It also urged the Centre to grant a geographical indication tag to basmati rice grown in the state.
"There is a tug of war between Madhya Pradesh and Punjab over the GI tag on basmati. Punjab has the tag and Madhya Pradesh wants it. Punjab is not in favour of providing GI tag for basmati rice grown in Madhya Pradesh," an official with the Madhya Pradesh farm department said.
The case is pending in court. In the letter, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said basmati was being produced in 13 districts of Madhya Pradesh since 1908. This was also recorded in the erstwhile 'Scindia State', according to the tweet.
In the 'Production Oriented Survey Report', the Indian Institute of Rice Research, Hyderabad, has recorded that basmati rice was being produced in Madhya Pradesh since many years.
Other institutions have also confirmed the traditional cultivation of basmati in Madhya Pradesh. Chouhan said a geographical indication tag to Madhya Pradesh would stabilise prices of India's basmati rice in global markets and ramp up the country's exports. According to export data by the Centre, the basmati exporters of Punjab and Haryana were buying the aromatic rice from Madhya Pradesh.
Also, the Centre has been supplying 'Breeder seed' of basmati rice to Madhya Pradesh since 1999. This, the official said, showed that the basmati rice grown in the state was of premium quality. On Wednesday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had tweeted, urging the Centre to not provide the geographical indication tag on basmati rice produced in Madhya Pradesh. Singh sought the Centre's intervention in the interest of Punjab and other states that already have the tag for the basmati rice produced in these states.
Along with Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, western Uttar Pradesh and some districts in Jammu & Kashmir have their basmati rice tagged. A geographical indication tag is a trademark used on products that suggests speciality and quality of the product, and the region where it is produced.