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It is older than 'independent India' and the brainchild of those who were instrumental in getting the country freed from the British. Conceptualised by Mahatma Gandhi and inaugurated by Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, the legacy of the Handmade Paper Institute (HPI), located adjacent to the Agriculture College will soon be housed in a showroom. Interestingly the entire showroom would be created out of things handmade- for instance the bricks which have been ordered specially from Godhra, the ceiling of the showroom has been created out of paper pulp. The showroom along with the Art gallery are expected to be ready within a month.
Talking about it Jeetendra Sonar, director, HPI says, "We will be creating a wall of fame inside the showroom which will feature the history of paper and the institute. Besides, the showroom will showcase the latest arrivals such as artifacts created out of paper, gift articles, show- pieces and so on which will be designed by in- house designers. The Art gallery on the other hand will provide platform for upcoming artists for showcasing their art."
As far as history goes, the institute has a lot to showcase. Take for instance this- Pandit Nehru's will and testaments were printed on papers produced by HPI. The wedding invitation for Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi or even the draft of the Indian Constitution written down by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar were on the papers manufactured here. The master copy of the constitution was also printed here- all of which will find place on the wall of fame. The government- run institute was taken over by Sonar's M S Publishers and Printers on June 2010 for a sum of Rs four crore subsequent to a tendering process. With 80 employees, 68 of whom are retainers from under the earlier management, the institute produces four tonnes of paper daily. "The advantage of this paper is that it is eco- friendly. We are set to acquire some new drying machinery which will increase the production to six tonnes a day. We are targeting a turnover of Rs 25 crore in the near future," says Sonar who, along with his business partner Chitra Mete has also started marketing the paper abroad.