The iconic Kolhapuri chappals have been granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the Controller General of Patents, Designs, and Trademarks across four districts in Maharashtra and Karnataka each. The acquired GI tag brands the footwear made in Kolhapur, Solapur, Sangli, and Satara in Maharashtra, and Dharwad, Belgaum, Bagalkot, and Bijapur in Karnataka as “Kolhapuris.” Additionally, it also prohibits using the term for various other similar products made in different parts of the country.
Many people believe that the artisans from Maharashtra are the chief manufacturers of the Kolhapuri chappals; however, a large number of artisans from Karnataka are also manufacturing these chappals from quite a long time now. Nearly 5,000 people in the villages of Belagavi, Bagalkote, and Dharwad are engaged in making these chappals, but they have limited access to the flourishing international and domestic consumer markets.
As the Kolhapuri Chappals are an established icon, this move is further expected to improve the domestic and international prospects of the product. Moreover, the GI tag approval of this well-known footwear brand will protect the genuine artisans in Karnataka and Maharashtra against knock-offs.
The GI tag got sanctioned after a joint application was filed by the Dr. Babu Jagjeevan Ram Leather Industries Development Corporation of Karnataka (LIDKAR) and the Sant Rohidas Leather Industries & Charmakar Development Corporation Limited of Maharashtra (LIDCOM). A previous attempt to acquire the GI tag by Maharashtra was rejected.