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Less crowd at auto expo

The lack of a real showstopper — something the world’s cheapest car Tata Nano was when it was unveiled in 2008 — may have brought the number of visitors to the just concluded 10th Delhi Auto Expo down by over 33 per cent to just about 1.2 million. The Expo had generated 1.8 million visitors in 2008, spurred by the Nano-mania, reports Sumant Banerji.

delhi Updated: Jan 14, 2010 00:46 IST
Sumant Banerji

The lack of a real showstopper — something the world’s cheapest car Tata Nano was when it was unveiled in 2008 — may have brought the number of visitors to the just concluded 10th Delhi Auto Expo down by over 33 per cent to just about 1.2 million. The Expo had generated 1.8 million visitors in 2008, spurred by the Nano-mania.

“This year the number of visitors to the expo is somewhere between 1.1 and 1.2 million,” said Vishnu Mathur, executive director, Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA), one of the three main organisers of the show.

“We had expected the number to go beyond the 2008 figure but it is less because there were many restrictions placed on us during the expo. Ticket sales were stopped from 3 p.m. and entry restricted from 5 p.m. onwards and the number of days were also reduced.” The organisers had expected 2 million visitors this year.

The low figure notwithstanding, the show caused massive traffic jams outside the venue and swirling crowds inside.

Last weekend saw the maximum visitors to the fair with 4 lakh people frequenting the expo on the two days alone.

But instances of mismanagement — on Sunday, Delhi Police intervened and stopped stage shows in various halls in the name of crowd control — made the expo a forgettable affair.

“This show is getting bigger and the infrastructure is not adequate for this kind of an event,” said Chandrajit Banerjee, director general, CII after Sunday’s incident. “We may have to look at alternate sites.”

Other solutions could mean splitting the show into two and hosting them alternately or rationing the space allocated to each participant.

“We have to look at all possible options and may have to ask members to ration the space available to them,” Mathur said.

“Splitting the show could mean a dilemma for component makers as they supply to cars, two wheelers and commercial vehicles alike and hence they will not know which fair to skip.”