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Odisha likely to lose to West Bengal on patent over rasgulla

Odisha is likely to lose to West Bengal over its claim to get the geographical identification tag on rasgulla, a sweet delicacy. Both Odisha and West Bengal have been claiming that rasgulla originated from their state.

Odisha likely to lose to West Bengal on patent over rasgulla
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Pahala rasgullas from Odisha (left) and Bengali rasgullas (right)

Odisha Science and Technology Minister Pradip Kumar Panigrahi said so far written evidence to substantiate their claim has not been found. Panigrahi said a public notice requesting people to provide evidence that rasgulla was prepared in Odisha was issued in October last year by a committee constituted under chairmanship of the director Bio Technology department. But the committee has not got any response so far. There was no evidence to prove that rasgulla was prepared in Odisha before 1868.

The state government had set up three committees to prepare documents on the origin of rasgulla in Odisha and to help the state to stake claim before the Central government for the patent over the sweet dish. 

Panigrahi said though the committee held two meetings in Puri and it could not collect the evidence in support of the claim.

The Minister said, according to ‘madala Panji’ and and other ancient religious books rasgulla is offered to the presiding deities in the 12th century Jagannath temple Puri but there was no evidence to prove that it was originated in Odisha. 

The experts on Jagannath culture also failed to provide any evidence in support of the claim, Panigrahi said.

He said the government would stop the exercise to collect the evidence in support of the claim  that rasgulla was originated from Odisha if no evidence was found in the near future. 

The West Bengal government claim that the spongy white rasgulla was invented in the state in 1868 by a Kolkata-based confectioner named Nobin Chandra Das. They claim that Das started making rasgulla in his sweet shop located at Sutanuti (present-day Baghbazar). His descendants claim that his recipe was an original, but according to another theory, he modified the traditional Odisha rasgulla recipe to produce this less perishable variant. Yet another theory is that rasgulla was first prepared by someone else in Bengal, and Das only popularised it.

Bhagwandas Bagla, a Marwari businessman and a customer of Nobin Chandra Das, popularised the Bengali rasgulla beyond the shop’s locality by ordering huge amounts.

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