Tuesday, November 28, 2006

India International Trade Fair

The IITF (India International Trade Fair) in Delhi is finally over. So is the associated traffic jams around ITO area. To oblige my better half’s wishes, I also visited the fair last Friday. It appeared that whole of Delhi was heading there.

IITF is an annual event that is held at the Pragati Maidan, New Delhi every year between Nov 14 and Nov 27. This is the 5th fifth time I had visited the IITF in nine years. The experience has been going down from bad to worse with each visit. But this is certainly the last time. I swear not to go their again. Despite the heavy ticket price, it was so crowded that one could hardly walk on the streets. Any visit to a state pavilion would be agonizing and one would long to get out of it as soon as possible. God forbids, if some incidents like fire occur, it will be a disaster.

Ticket price on a normal working day is Rs.25/- and on weekends Rs.50/-. And yet at least 30 lakhs people have visited the fair this year. The Friday I went had at least one lakh people inside. I had the misadventure of visiting the fair on a Sunday 2 years back. Later I came to know, there were lakh people inside that day. To discourage people from using their private vehicles, parking charges are as high as Rs.75/-. And yet the whole Delhi seems to head there, as if not visiting this will be a disgrace.

One of the major problems I observed is that of the composition in the crowd. Young boys in the age group of 12-18 years were a nuisance. Most of them were school kids in uniforms. The subsidized ticket price for them at Rs.15/- ensured that they come in large numbers. Often in small groups holding their hands together in the fear of getting lost in the crowd, they would crowd out the stalls. They neither buy anything nor allow others to buy. This helps neither the sellers nor the buyers. The IITF authorities should discourage this practice of subsidized tickets for kids in school uniforms or keep a different slot for them. May be a special day for school children can be thought of.

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