With many exhibitors at 11th Auto Expo complaining about poor crowd management, the owner of the venue, ITPO, on Monday put all the blame on industry body CII, saying it was not responsible for issuing free passes.
CII, however, said the participants were equally responsible for the crowd mess on 'Media Days', as they issued free passes without any control.
The Indian Trade Promotions Organisation (ITPO) said the criticism, specially about general visitors hijacking the media days on January 5-6, must be directed toward the organisers of the event for issuing too many free passes.
"That is something that you must question the CII (on) because there is absolutely no guest from the part of the government of India or the ITPO," ITPO chairperson-cum-managing director Rita Menon told PTI.
She said ITPO is collaborating with CII for ticket sales and claimed there are no queues.
"It is as smooth as possible during business hours and after. If there have been any bust-ups on Saturday and Sunday or the two days prior to that, which were to be Media Days, I would suggest you ask the three people in-charge of CII," Menon said.
When contacted, CII Auto Expo Steering Committee Chairman Rajive Kaul passed on the buck to exhibitors for doling out free passes to all and sundry.
"We give out thousands of passes to the exhibitors. When we give these passes, then we don't control it, they control it. We don't know who they are giving it to or when they are giving it to. They are exhibitors, whoever they want to come, they give it to them," Kaul said.
Big companies like Tatas may have got 7,000 passes, while the Mahindras were offered 5,000 passes, he added.
While admitting that the expo is definitely CII's responsibility, Kaul, however, said ITPO would also need to improve its infrastructure to world-class levels.
"What we require is world-class infrastructure in the shape of roads, halls, toilets. ITPO have plans to convert this in a phased manner to world-class facilities. We look forward to having greatly improved infrastructural facilities in the years ahead," he added.
Admitting to the goof-up on media days, he said: "What we will do next year is on the media day, we will have no passes at all. It will be for exhibitors and only media and then the problem will be over."
Both ITPO and CII have confirmed a total of over one lakh visitors on the first two days of the biennial auto show at Pragati Maidan.
Business leaders, including Anand Mahindra, have criticised the poor management of the show, saying the week-long event, which saw participation by over 50 global brands, is a "serious business" and not a "tamasha".