City traffic has been severely hit by the Delhi Auto Expo that began on January 5. The concerned authorities are not the only ones to be blamed.
For, had the Commerce Ministry — under which the International Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) falls and which in turn organises national and international fairs — acted on a proposal sent to it by the Delhi Police in 2004, Delhiites could have been spared the current logjam.
Former Delhi Police commissioner K.K.Paul had sent a proposal to the Union Ministry of Commerce to shift the fair venue to the city’s outskirts. Delhi Police had even suggested probable locations — Dwarka and Greater Noida.
But nothing happened.
Big fairs such as the India International Trade Fair or the Auto Expo lead to severe traffic problems even today.
The traffic police claim the problem can be solved only by shifting the venue from Pragati Maidan.
“Our stand is that the ITPO should be shifted out of central Delhi,” said Ajay Chaddha, special commissioner of police (traffic).
“The police have taken up this matter with the government not once but several times.”
The Delhi government too had made a similar proposal in 2004. The government had at that time also held several meetings with the Union Urban Development Ministry and the Commerce Ministry for identifying an alternate location for the venue.
Rakesh Mehta, Delhi chief secretary said, "An inter-ministerial committee was to be set up by the Commerce Ministry to look at alternate sites to relocate ITPO. I am not aware of the latest status."
The ITPO is not too keen to shift; its officials claim the footfall will suffer.
Safdar H. Khan, ITPO senior general manager said, “Everywhere around the world, exhibition grounds are located in the centre of the cities. The solution is to manage the traffic well. It’s upto the government to decide. We will abide by any decision the government takes,” he said.