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Pottery Expo: Getting into the right mould?

The much-hyped ongoing India International Pottery and Kitchen Expo - 2002 has been reduced to stony silence. With few visitors trickling in though, it is not a bad place to shop for flowerpots, wooden objects and shawls, suggests MADHUR TANKHA... .

INDIA INTERNATIONAL Pottery and Kitchen Expo-2002 in New Delhi may have aimed to showcase pottery to a large crowd. But this fair - October 19 to 27 - has so far witnessed just a trickle of visitors and plenty of empty stalls. The exhibitors are doubtful if they can make profits as they feel that the organisers, Z Exhibits Private Limited have to get their act together. Although the cardboard Taj Mahal is perhaps whiter than the original and the walk through the huge fountains gives one get a feeling of déjà vu, what is irritating is that there aren't many stalls selling pottery while food, carpet-sellers, marble and wooden object sellers and book owners are exhibiting their articles here.

From Saharanpur's Indian Developing Society, Shahid Nadeem says, "We are selling Ramayana stand, which can be used for keeping Quran or Gita, depending on one's religious affiliation. We have had a sale of Rs. 4500, mainly from garden furniture." There are also partitions, corners, walnut tables and candle stand.

Lohia from Rajasthan is sure that his products would sell. He says, "Our exquisite carvings in marble are a testimony of our workmanship. Procurement of marble is done from Makrana - where incidentally marble was used by Moghul Emperor Shah Jahan to build Taj Mahal and Kishangarh. The finishing touches are given in Delhi." A mesmerising green coloured marble table is available for Rs. 5000. A miniature temple is priced at commensurate price. Even candelabrum made from onyx stone of Pakistan is up-for-grabs. Juxtaposed with this stall is one of Sweekar Handicrafts, selling antique stuff.

Stuff displayed by Idris Ahmed from Kashmir's Karanagar comes as a breath of fresh air. He says, "Goats and sheep from Sonamerg and Ladakh prove handy in supplying us large quantities of wool. The raw material is then used to make woollen garments and carpets. We are selling jamawars, pashminas and semi-pashminas."

Though one lakh visitors were expected here, the stall owners say not even one thousand have come. But things might just change for the better in the coming days.

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