The organisers of India’s largest automotive exhibition, Auto Expo, which is held biennially at Pragati Maidan, have decided to take the show away from Delhi to Greater Noida citing the scale of the event that they claim has become too big for Delhi.
The event, which has grown to become one of the largest in the world, has been plagued with a variety of problems, including unruly crowds, poor infrastructure and traffic jams. The chorus for a change of venue grew louder this year when over a lakh visitors thronged the venue on a day reserved for the media, leading to a stampede-like situation.
"We have decided to move the expo away from Pragati Maidan... it is getting way too chaotic to manage an event of this scale there," said a senior official of the organising committee. "We have also moved the event from January to February so that it does not clash with other global automotive shows. In 2014, the auto expo will be held at Greater Noida expo mart."
The shift would mean fewer people attending the show. In 2010, a record 1.8 million people visited the event making it the largest in the world. This year, the numbers came down to around 700,000 people but that did not help the management of the show. The automotive industry is clearly in favour of quality over quantity.
"The shift should have happened a long time ago," said Jagdish Khattar, a former managing director of Maruti Suzuki and currently the chairman and MD of Carnation Auto. "Pragati Maidan is not a place for a world-class automotive exhibition. It is scattered and unorganised."
Against a built-up area of 53,580sq m at Pragati Maidan, Greater Noida offers 27,648 sq m and an additional 25,000 sq m space that would be built up by February 2014. There is space for more hangars to be set up while shuttle services would be run from strategic points for easy access to visitors.