Kolhapuris: The famous leather chappal get Geographical Indication tag

    ET Bureau|
    Geographical Indication tag

    Geographical Indication tag

    Kolhapuris, the sturdy leather chappal that rose from its humble rural origins to occupy the high table of fashion globally, now has a Geographical Indication (GI) tag.

    The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks has granted the GI tag for Kolhapuris to a large area in Maharashtra and Karnataka, covering four districts in each state.

    What the GI tag means is that footwear produced only in these eight districts will qualify to carry the tag of being Kolhapuris.

    Producers of footwear in any other part of the country will now be forbidden from using the term Kolhapuris to hawk their ware.

    Entry into large market

    Entry into large market

    The GI tag will open large markets – both domestic and international – to the artisans producing Kolhapuris in Kolhapur, Solapur, Sangli and Satara districts of Maharashtra and Dharwad, Belgaum, Bagalkot and Bijapur districts of Karnataka.

    Joint bid for GI tag

    Joint bid for GI tag

    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.

    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.

    Modest beginning

    Modest beginning

    Brand Kolhapuri came into being only in the beginning of 20th century when the footwear began to be traded in Kolhapur.

    Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj (1874-1922) of Kolhapur encouraged its production and 29 tanning centres were opened during his rule in Kolhapur, said the proposal.

    Victory for the artisans

    Victory for the artisans

    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.

    Benefit for all

    Benefit for all

    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.

    The Economic Times