Space constraints, traffic snarls force organisers for a venue rethink.
Infrastructural bottlenecks at Pragati Maidan have forced the organisers of the Delhi Auto Expo to consider moving the show out of the city to an alternative site in the national capital region.
A final call on the location has yet to be taken, but Jaypee Sports International’s Formula One track in Greater Noida is a likely alternative.
Rajive Kaul, chairman, steering committee, Auto Expo 2012, said: “There are infrastructural constraints at Pragati Maidan. Some of the state pavilions are not conducive for exhibiting automotive products. We had limited the number of exhibitors and put a cap on the number of daily visitors, but the response has been overwhelming. We are considering moving the show out of Delhi. The Buddh International Circuit is certainly an option.”
The current edition of the Delhi Auto Expo has 1,500 exhibitors, compared to the 2,100 in 2010. Space constraints at the venue had also compelled organisers to reduce exhibit area by 10,000 square metres to 115,000 sq m, to facilitate better movement of visitors.
In terms of the number of visitors, the Delhi Auto Expo is touted as the second-largest auto show in the world after the one held in Shanghai. While 1.8 million people had visited the auto show in 2008, the numbers stood at 1.25 million in 2010.
Kaul added: “This year, we had to halve the number of hangars to 10. We want an open-for-all show, but we decided to cap the number of daily visitors to 100,000 per day due to limitations at Pragati Maidan. This includes exhibitors, staff for support infrastructure, invitees and the general public.”
The organisers are also said to be considering extending the show by a day or two next year onwards to respond to the heightened interest levels among auto enthusiasts.
Estimates suggest, compared to the 30,000 exhibitors and media personnel who were to visit the show on January 5-6, over 200,000 people made it to the venue.
The congestion in and around Pragati Maidan had a ripple effect on traffic movement across the city.
Besides, a road was blocked near India Gate for the passage of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his counterpart from Trinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad Bissessar.
These disrupted vehicle movement on certain routes in South and Central Delhi for over three hours on Friday.
“Holding exhibitions at Pragati Maidan is not a good idea. It causes far too much inconvenience to many people in Delhi. There are probable sites both in Greater Noida and Gurgaon. As is the global norm, the whole exhibition complex should be moved out of the city,” said Maruti Suzuki India Ltd Chairman R C Bhargava.
A senior Toyota Kirloskar Motor executive said: “The rates charged by organisers are very steep for whatever paltry we are getting in return. At Rs 10,000 per sq m, even the Tokyo Motor Show appears cheaper and there we have visitors who are far more disciplined. We need to have a bigger venue with suiting infrastructure.”
Yesterday, Mahindra & Mahindra Vice-Chairman Anand Mahindra had tweeted: “Auto Expo Delhi needs to find a new, more capacious and tidier home. Or the world will be happy to give the go-by to Indian Auto’s shop window.”