3,000 exhibitors, more space: IITF kicks off at Pragati Maidan

Food stalls have been set up in the open. Entry for visitors is from gate number 4 and 10. Traders and cargo vehicles entered the complex from specific gates.

While work on a chunk of the International Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre at Pragati Maidan is still ongoing, the India International Trade Fair (IITF) kicked off on Sunday at the redeveloped parts of the ‘New Exhibition Complex’.

There are 3,000 exhibitors from India and abroad participating in IITF 2021 which is being held in a total area of 70,000 sqm, almost three times the space used in 2019. The fair was not held in 2020 due to the pandemic.

A majority of the fair is being held at the new complex while smaller parts are in other areas such as hall number 7. Food stalls have been set up in the open.  Entry for visitors is from gate number 4 and 10. Traders and cargo vehicles entered the complex from specific gates.

Inside the new complex on Sunday, stalls were being set up by traders at revamped exhibition halls 2, 3, 4 and 5. They said there is more walking space for visitors as the hall is bigger.

A trader and craftsman from Assam, who sells cane and bamboo products, said he had last come in 2019 and set up his stall in an open space. Since there was no trade fair last year due to Covid, he said business had been badly hit. He hoped the fair would begin his recovery.

Similarly, for Suman Saini (46), who is originally from UP and has a bag business, the last two years had been particularly difficult. She said, “Ever since the pandemic, competition has become stiffer.” Like other traders, she applied on the Pragati Maidan website, hoping for both ‘business leads and sales’. She said there is a selection procedure since not all those who apply will get a space to exhibit.

The fair was inaugurated by Piyush Goyal Sunday, who said that IITF has returned after a one year gap in its 40th edition powered by ‘Aatmanirbharta’ & ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia inaugurated the Delhi Pavilion, which reflects the revamped Chandni Chowk. He said Delhi is writing a new chapter in the progress of the country through its work in education, health, public transport, industry, environment etc.

He also appealed to people to visit the Delhi Pavilion, which features stalls by government departments such as Health, DJB, Transport, among others.

The health department has set up a stall with on-site test facilities, to make people aware of mohalla clinics. Teams of doctors will be present to provide basic facilities such as blood pressure, BMI tests, blood sugar levels etc. Other departments too showcased their recent achievements.

The fair will go on till October 27. Till November 18, the fair is intended to attract ‘business visitors’, with a charge of Rs 500 per person, after which, it will be open to the general public at a nominal entrance fee. Tickets are available online as well as at 65 Delhi Metro stations.

When completed, the IECC will have a convention centre, more revamped exhibition halls, a basement for parking, an administrative block, 3.7 acres for a star hotel, ticketing plaza and gatehouses, and a skywalk from Pragati Maidan Metro station among other things.

AAP chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said: “If the MCD makes BJP leaders pay for hoardings they have put up for free, then salary and pension dues can be given to all employees. The Delhi government has paid the MCD every penny due but BJP drafting a massive plot to defame it.”

Delhi BJP Spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor hit back: “There is no doubt that MCD employees are facing economic hardships due to excessive delays in their salaries, but they know the Delhi government withholding municipal funds is the reason.”

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