Credit war in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur over Modi’s gift to Trump: Who made the wooden chest? | punjab | Hindustan Times
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Credit war in Punjab’s Hoshiarpur over Modi’s gift to Trump: Who made the wooden chest?

Cottage Industries Corporation (CIC), which has been supplying plastic and wood inlay items to the PM’s office through the Central Cottage Industries Corporation of India (CCICI) for decades, claimed that the wooden chest was made to order at their workshop. But another artisan father-son have claimed the chest is made by them

punjab Updated: Jun 29, 2017 09:30 IST
Harpreet Kaur
US President Donald Trump (R) at the joint news conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington.
US President Donald Trump (R) at the joint news conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. (Reuters Photo)

While this much is not disputed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi gifted a Hoshiarpur-made wooden chest to US President Donald Trump on his visit there, a credit war has begun in the Punjab town. Whose creation is it? As the news flashed on television channels, two major manufacturers of inlay work were quick to claim credit.

Cottage Industries Corporation (CIC), which has been supplying plastic and wood inlay items to the PM’s office through the Central Cottage Industries Corporation of India (CCICI) for decades, claimed that the wooden chest was made to order at their workshop. “About three months ago, we received a request from the CCICI to make some exquisite pieces for the PMO. We made two items of which the chest was approved,” claimed Madhu Sudan Jain, managing director of the company. “A few days ago, we were played back the pictures of the chest that had been selected by the PMO.”

Jain the said chest (19x37 inches) took about two months to complete. “It was designed by national merit certificate-holder Ashok Jain and carved by one of our most brilliant artisans, Shammi Lal,” he said.

The wooden chest that a firm named Cottage Industries Corporation in Hoshiarpur claims has been gifted to US President Donald Trump by PM Narendra Modi. (Harpreet Kaur/HT)

He added that he has asked for a certification from the CCICI as there is a counter-claim by another artisan, Rupan Matharu. “We were disturbed to learn that someone else has claimed credit for what we consider a big feat for Hoshiarpur. The CCICI officials said they will do the needful (for certification) on approval from the PMO,” he added. He also said his firm supplied wooden elephants — the mascot — to the PMO during Asian Games in 1982 and also “a unique box for PM Modi to keep his passport”.

But Rupan Matharu said the chest was prepared by his son Kamaljit and him. “We were informed by the CCICI two months ago that the chest supplied by us last year had been accepted by the PMO,” he told HT. “We were even asked for a discount,” said Matharu, a national awardee, whose family has been to inlay work for over a century.

While Jain was confident that it was his firm’s item gifted to the US president, Matharu said final confirmation would come from the PMO. “No one has seen the picture of the actual gifting of the article, so the matter will be settled once a formal confirmation comes from the high-ups,” Matharu said.

CCICI managing director Parmod Nagpal, when contacted over phone, expressed his inability to clear the dust. “I am travelling right now, so I do not have access to the office record,” he said.

Jain refused to divulge the cost of the item, but Matharu said he sold his 22x15 inch sheesham creation for Rs 1.55 lakh.