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Farewell to Pragati Maidan, says India International Trade Fair

Workers at Pragati Maidan share their nostalgia and worry, as this will be the Trade Fair by India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), in the current premises that is due for revamp.

delhi Updated: Nov 13, 2016 14:37 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times
Trade Fair,India International Trade Fair,Pragati Maidan
A view of the India International Trade Fair from one of its previous editions.(Shivam Saxena/ HT Photo)

It is the last time to say — it’s that time of the year again — for city’s most popular India International Trade Fair; in the present Pragati Maidan complex. The news of its closure for revamp has left the visitors disheartened.

Though the fair will reportedly return in 2020, it’s upcoming 36th edition, based on the theme, Digital India, will be remembered for many reasons. The absence of Pakistan’s stall, the ambiguity around display of Chinese products and the recent demonetization — all of which has shaken the sellers, buyers and visitors collectively.

But those who will miss this popular fair the most are the daily workers who had made Pragati Maidan their workplace since quite a few years now. Read on as some of them share their nostalgia and worries.

Sarvesh Kumar, security supervisor. Amal KS/HT Photo

On duty since 1984
My interview as ITPO’s security personnel was scheduled for 31 October 1984. That day, Indira Gandhi was assassinated and my interview got postponed. On 9 November, same year I reappeared and since then have been reporting here. Now I’m worried what will happen if I don’t get my regular income! Till the fair reopens, I might have to survive my family on my savings only.

Mahesh Kumar, security incharge. Amal KS/HT Photo

Guarding Pavilion
I left farming, became a security guard and came here 8 years ago. I guarded pavilions of Jharkhand and Gujarat and even handled huge crowds. Now I might have to go back to my village in UP or look for another profession.

Mohd Jareeb and Dharam Pal, labourers. Amal KS/HT Photo

Yeh dosti...
Since 1950s we have been doing all odd jobs like putting up flags, repairing window panes and cutting roads if water supply discontinues. Right now we don’t even have money to drink tea because of demonetization. Hopefully, God will help us survive through all this and more, that’s coming.

Pinki, sweeper. Amal KS/HT Photo

Brooming glory
My children were always so excited to come to the trade fair and go back to flaunt in front of their friends. I haven’t told them about the temporary closure of the fair lest they are heartbroken. Also I’m worried how will I earn for them because it isn’t easy to get a new job in a city like Delhi.

Must know

1. Trade fair is scheduled from November 14 to 27; 9.30am to 7.30pm

2. Days for business and trade visitors — November 14 to 18; for general public — Nov 19 to 26

3. Tickets for adults on general days available at Rs 60 (weekday) or Rs 120 (weekend) available at Pragati Maidan Gate No 1,2 and Metro Stations or online:

4. School children can enter on business days with tickets priced for general days.

5. Entry for senior citizens is free. However, they must carry an ID proof.

6. This year’s partner country is South Korea and partner states are Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand.

First Published: Nov 13, 2016 14:37 IST