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Weekend chaos at trade fair

delhi Updated: Nov 22, 2009 00:12 IST
Jatin Anand
Jatin Anand
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Visitors had a hard time at the India International Trade Fair (IITF) on the first weekend since it opened doors to the general public on November 19.

While jam-packed Metro trains made commuting to, and from the annual business event a harrowing experience, chaos awaited within, too.

“I’ve been here since 10 am and it seems to get worse every half hour,” said Balchander Kasturi (42), visiting the IITF with his wife and two-year-old son.

The fair attracted 1.10 lakh people on Saturday, just 40,000 shy of last year’s highest number of visitors — 1.5 lakh.

Saturday’s turnout was the highest since the fair opened on November 14. Though no cases of misbehaviour were reported, the massive crowd led to a bone-crushing rush at the pavilions.

Lack of space and proper seating arrangements also compelled visitors to eat wherever they managed to find space.

“The ‘Bharat ka Khana’ pavilion was full so we just had to sit on the ground to have our thali,” said Kushal Kumar (18), a student.

Lack of proper transport facilities and difficulty in locating areas of interest owing to just four booths offering information added to their woes.

“The officials manning an information booth near gate number 3 had no clue when I asked them which hall Papua & New Guinea’s stall was,” said Naresh Bhatnagar (28), a resident of Defence Colony.

Many visitors were disappointed when they realised some international participants had given the fair a slip.

“There was a lot of hullabaloo about Iraq participating in the trade fair for the first time but there was no such stall,” said Saba Malik (20), a DU student.

“There are about five to six officials manning each information booth. And, let me assure the public that all the countries mentioned are participating,” said Safdar Khan, general manager, India Trade Promotion Organisation.