Kendrapara: The famous sweetmeat ‘Rasabali’ of Kendrapara is among the list of five products from Odisha which will be taken up for discussion to accord GI (Geographical Indication) tag at a conference of Geographical Indication Registry to be held at Chennai in December.
The date molasses of Gajapati, silver filigree work of Cuttack, ‘Kai Chatni’ of Mayurbhanj, ‘Magaj Ladoo’ of Dhenkanal and ‘Rasabali’ of Kendrapara districts are the nominees in fray for the GI tag.
The ‘Rasabali Nirmata Sangha’ in Kendrapara was the first to demand GI tag for the delicacy in 2021. Later, a delegation from Odisha, led by Rajya Sabha MP Subhash Singh along with Munna Khan and Mamata Mohanta met Union Minister Piyush Goyal and submitted a memorandum demanding GI tag for ‘Rasabali’. The memorandum had mentioned the history and present status of the dessert and claimed that according GI tag to it will boost the economic growth in Kendrapara district.
Researchers Niranjan Mekap and Anita Sabat said that ‘Rasabali’ as a sweetmeat was in use since medieval times during the erstwhile King Anangabhima Deva’s reign. During his rule, 32 varieties of ‘Rasabali’ were being used as an offering at the Sri Baladevjew Temple in Kendrapara and it still continues.
Various couplets, mythological scriptures like ‘Dandi Ramayan’ and family chronology of the Ganga dynasty ‘Ganga Banshanucharita’ have many pages on ‘Rasabali’. It has been stated that the origin of ‘Rasabali’ is in Kendrapara district.
Senior confectioner and ‘Rasabali’-maker Baishnab Panda said that earlier the sweetmeat used to be prepared only inside the temple as an offering to the deities. However, ‘Rasabali’ now has transcended boundaries and is easily available all over this town and other parts of Odisha.
The preparation of ‘Rasabali’ is a complex process. It is prepared with cheese, ghee, milk and green cardamom. Only a trained confectioner will be able to prepare this delicacy and make it tasty, Panda pointed out.
Educationist Bhuban Mohan Jena opined that the brand value of any product increases with the GI tag. It also helps check misuse of the product and prevents imitations apart from growth of business. GI tagged products also create scope of economic growth of the area of its origin. “If Rasabali receives the GI tag, it will not solve all the problems the confectioners face, but will bring about a great sense of relief among them,” Jena said.
Saroj Kumar Mohanty, convener of ‘Rasabali Nirmata Sangha’ said that according GI tag to the delicacy has been a long-standing demand. If ‘Rasabali’ gets the GI tag, then their dreams will be fulfilled, he added.