LIFE

The unique trade show goes on

Special Display Pavilion at the India International Trade Fair at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi.  

When it comes to the India International Trade Fair (IITF) held every year during the month of November, commerce does assume importance in so far as the organisers -- India Trade Promotion Organisation -- are concerned. And the "business hours'' is there to take care of this aspect of the fair.

However, it is the non-business crowd which has given the fair legitimacy and importance over the years and the huge crowds that thronged Pragati Maidan here today was an example of this. People dressed in their Sunday best converged at the fair grounds and cliched as it may sound, it was indeed a sea of people everywhere on Mathura Road.

Well, the fair has always provided an opportunity to the States to display the best of culture and technology from their respective regions. This time too, most States have provided a thrust to sectors like industrialisation, heritage tourism, e- governance and other aspects of modernisation. While the Himachal Pradesh pavilion focuses on the completion of 100 years of the Kalka-Shimla highway, the Madhya Pradesh pavilion has laid emphasis on their "Gyandoot project''. The entrance to the pavilion is in the shape of a fortress in Mandu overlooking the river Narmada and legend has it that Rani Roopmati never ate anything before having a glimpse of the river.

A highlight of the Delhi pavilion this year is the thrust on Asian Capitals coinciding with a conference held past week. And of course, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation -- which had a separate stall for the past three years -- is this year housed in the Delhi pavilion.

States like Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala also highlighted their progress in different fields and while the hill States too have their own pavilions, there is a separate exhibition dedicated to the Himalayas, perhaps to honour the fact that the year 2002 is being observed by the United Nations as the International Year of the Mountains.

The India Trade Promotion Organisation itself has completed 25 years and a special commemorative stall has been set up showcasing this journey.

Even the Railways have this year focussed on "150 years of glorious service to the nation''. Other annual features like ''Saras'' and ''Good Living'' pavilions have been a good draw as always what with the latter offering fabulous discounts on various domestic products as well as electronic gadgets.

Aesthetically decorated Kerala Pavilion.

Aesthetically decorated Kerala Pavilion.  

Entertainment is an integral part of the fair and this year too, the various States have been celebrating their days by showcasing the best of culture. In addition, there have been various groups/troupes putting their best foot forward. The cuisine of every State is highlighted in the respective pavilions and predictably, these have been a good draw. A laser show at the lake opposite hall No. 7 is also being held daily.

Though the ITPO is yet to compile the data regarding the number of visitors received over the past 10 days, close to 30 lakhs visited the fair grounds last year and roughly the same number of people are expected to visit this year as well.

And while the security wing of ITPO is stressed, it is all geared up to meet any eventuality. Fire engines are stationed at strategic points and the parking of vehicles is as far as India Gate with an additional facility of park and ride being offered to the visitors. The result was that the traffic management outside Pragati Maidan was much more organised, though jams did occur at places and at specific periods of time.

By Kannan K.