Updated: April 5, 2018 7:48:08 pm
In gross violation of norms, weavers in Bangladesh are manufacturing and selling Banarasi sarees, the Intellectual Property Right of which is with the weaver community of Varanasi, in the international market, claimed Human Welfare Association, the body which works for the upliftment of handloom weavers and handicraft artisans. This, the association believes, has resulted in sharp fall in demand of Banarasi sarees made by its actual weavers.
Referring to a report in Bangladesh’s Financial Express dated February 8 of vulnerable women resorting to weaving Banarasi sarees to support families, HWA director Dr Rajnikant said it took a lot of effort to get the Geographical Indication for Banarasi saree. “And by illegally manufacturing it, Bangladesh is insulting our hard work,” he said.
In 2009, the Banarasi silk products joined the league of Darjeeling tea, Tirupati Laddoo and Pochampalli under the registered name of `Banaras Brocades and Sarees’ by securing Geographical Indication (GI) rights. It was the first GI status to any product in Eastern UP covering Varanasi, Mirzapur, Chandauli, Bhadohi, Jaunpur and Azamgarh districts.
In February, the Banarasi sarees made by Bangladeshi weavers were reportedly also put on display at the Guwahati International Trade Fair’ in Guwahati. “It is a gross violation of intellectual property right and geographical indication law. What is more saddening is that it is happening to a product which belongs to the constituency of country’s prime minister,” said the HWA director.
The GI status benefits about 12 lakh people associated directly or indirectly with the handloom silk industry in the Eastern UP. “Now we are getting why the demand for our product in the international market is falling and the business of Varanasi’s traditional weavers are not registering growth. It is simply because Bangladesh is illegally exporting its product on our name,” Rajnikant added.
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