Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

Cuttack: After the recent victory following years of bitter legal battle with West Bengal over the origin of the Rasagola, demand for GI Tag certification for Cuttack filigree crafts has now intensified in Odisha.

Barabati-Cuttack MLA Mohammad Moquim has presented his demands before the State Legislative Assembly for availing GI Tag for the ancestral silver filigree work in the millennium city Cuttack.

"Globally appreciated Pipili Chandua and Sambalpuri traditional clothing has been certified with GI tag, and recently Rasagola got the GI status. Cuttack's silver filigree work is also ancient and so it should get the GI Tag. I have presented my proposal in this connection and the Speaker also has assured to take steps on it," said the Congress leader.

Be it the silver backdrops for the deities during Durga Puja or the deities' ornaments or even superb crafts of animals, the uniqueness and expertise of the skilled filigree craftsmen of Cuttack has always had global recognition. But the situation has changed in recent times.

"The numbers of filigree workshops and craftsmen have reduced drastically in last few decades. Previously there used to be more than hundreds of workshops in Cuttack but now only a handful of them remain. As the artisans are not able to get the suitable price for their crafts, they are opting for other means of livelihood," said Prafulla Kumar Prusty, a filigree businessman in Cuttack.

"I have been working in this field for last 35 years, but the demands for filigree crafts have reduced nowadays. Workers don't get the right wages for their work which makes it difficult to run family," said Ashok Sahoo, a filigree craftsman.

The artisans hope that the GI Tag will help revamp the dying filigree industry through better promotion.

"Silver filigree work is associated with the long history of Cuttack. With the GI tag, the craftsmen depending on the filigree industry will be able to strengthen their earning. GI tag certification will popularize the traditional craft work," said Cuttack Collector, Bhavani Charan Chaini.