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For smooth visit,families buy costly business tickets at IITF

<i>November 14 to 18 were meant exclusively for business visitors</i>

Written by Deepu Sebastian Edmond | New Delhi |
November 16, 2009 4:51:02 am

For all traders at the India International Trade Fair (IITF) who were promised five exclusive business days,the families milling around Pragati Maidan on Sunday was a surprise.

Sanjeev Khan from Lajpat Nagar bought five red business tickets,each costing a princely Rs 400,so that his family could avoid the crowds.

“I prefer it this way. We’ll come again before the business days run out,” he said,armed with polythene bags full of goods bought at a neat discount.

In a new move to facilitate more business deals,the India Trade Promotion Organisation,organisers of IITF,have designated November 14 to 18 as exclusively for business and trade visitors.

The red-coloured tickets,sold during the five-day period cost Rs 400 each,but the ITPO has no system to identify and separate these “businessmen”.

For the general public,IITF would remain open from November 19 to 27 and entry tickets would cost Rs 30 on weekdays and Rs 60 on weekends and holidays.

Ankur Dhir from Paschim Vihar,who uses a mechanised wheelchair,bought the red tickets to avoid a rush. Dhir,who uses Metro to commute,was unhappy about the accessibility of some of the stalls.

“More than half the stalls do not have ramps. I could not even visit the Delhi State Pavilion because they failed to put up ramps,” he said.

There were businessmen too. “I’ve just concluded a fruitful negotiation with a private player. The deal is not huge,but I am satisfied,” said NRI Praveen Chandra from Panipat,whose business in machinery is based in Germany.

“Businessmen come with families to enjoy their weekends and conclude a deal. We can’t bar entry to someone who has tickets,” said Safdar H Khan,senior general manager,publicity,ITPO. He also said the ITPO had not anticipated that families other than those of businessmen would buy the Rs-400 tickets.

More people and exclusive business days does not mean more business.

“The last two days have not been encouraging for me. Very few new customers dropped in. We expected much more,” said M S Hobab,president of Iran-based Yazd Parsiana,which deals in bitumen.

“While organisers must be lauded for such a large event,there could have been improvements. There is such confusion at the gate. Worse,we have not received our identity cards yet,” he said.

“We have a two-fold objective. We’re looking at retail sales as well as export opportunities. We’ve had a few interested importers today,but they were not happy with the price,” said Panadda Suriaphon of Thai Idea and Craft.

Khan said families had brought business-hour tickets last year too,but their number had swelled this year. Business-hour tickets had cost Rs 300 last year.

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