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Assam has recently received a Geographical Indication (GI) patent for its traditional apparel under the Handlooms (Reservation of Articles for Production) Act, 1985 and the state government has announced its intention to protect the textiles. Surat’s manufacturing sector is worried that the government has reserved the production of Gamosa, Mekhla-Chadar, Dokhana and other traditional garments exclusively for handloom production.

“You all are aware that the Registrar of Geographical Indications, Chennai has granted GI application to Gamosa of Assam on 13th December, 2022 in favor of Directorate of Handlooms and Textiles, Assam. Now, the production of Gamosa of Assam is restricted. outside the state of Assam,” the state government said in a notification.

The Assam government has announced its intention to protect its traditional wear, which recently received a Geographical Indication (GI) patent under the Handlooms (Reservation of Goods for Production) Act, 1985. The government has reserved the production of Gamosa, Mekhla-Chadar, Dokhana. , and for other handlooms, thus the manufacturing concern of Surat.

“As per the Handlooms (Reservation of Articles for Production) Act, 1985, the manufacture of Gamosa, Mekhla-Chadar, Dokhana etc. is reserved exclusively for production by handloom. It has been observed that some unscrupulous traders are importing and selling Powerloom Gamosa and other traditional items reserved under this Act. To better implement the provisions of the GI and Handloom (Reservation of Goods for Production) Act, 1985, a special campaign should be launched from February 1, 2023, to ban the production, import and sale of powerloom-made Gamosa, Mekhla Can go – sheet, shop etc. Enforcement squads should be constituted for the purpose with the help of district/sub-divisional administration,” the notification added.

This move by the Assam government is causing great concern for the garment manufacturing hub of Surat. Industry sources revealed that about 60 per cent of these garments are supplied by the Surat textile industry, making it a significant contributor to the north-eastern state. According to industry estimates, manufacturers currently have around ₹100 crore worth of traditional apparel as well as goods in transit and stock with retailers in the Northeast and other parts of the country. The Surat-based industry has requested the Assam government to provide a window to clear its existing stock.

Traders and manufacturers in Surat argue that a handloom mekhla chadar sells for around Rs 7,000-8,000, while a machine-made mekhla chadar from Surat is available for Rs 500-700. They argue that machine-made products are cheaper and of comparable quality. Additionally, supply of handloom mekhla chadar is limited, and demand is high, making it difficult to meet production needs without machine-made alternatives.

Ashish Gujrati, president of the Southern Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SGCCI), told Fibre2Fashion“There is no restriction on powerloom production of such products. However, the authorities of the Government of Assam can investigate and take action against the import, production, stock and sale of these products made in power looms. This step of the Assam government will definitely have an impact on the Surat market. However, it is limited in size and is unlikely to disrupt the entire apparel market.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (KUL)

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