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Unhappy with Pragati Maidan, Plastindia looking seriously at moving venues

By: Steve Toloken

March 21, 2013

NEW DELHI, INDIA -- Plastindia, the country's largest plastic trade show, is looking seriously at moving its next edition in early 2015 from the outdated Pragati Maidan fairgrounds in New Delhi to newer complexes that it says can better accommodate its rapid growth.

But while show organizers make no secret of their problems with the sprawling, 30-year-old Pragati Maidan complex in central Delhi, the challenge is that both of the potential new venues – one in Ahmedabad in Western India and another in Noida outside Delhi – are still under construction.

"I am trying my best to move," said Bipin Shah, president of the Mumbai-based Plastindia Foundation, which organizers the once-every-three-years fair. "We are definitely unhappy with Pragati Maidan."

In an interview with Plastics News, he said Plastindia Foundation expects to make a decision by mid-April. He put the odds of switching show venues at 80 percent.

"The show must have better infrastructure," he said. "If I want to go further the scope is limited."

In changing venues, however, they face one of the same challenges the NPE show faced when it moved last year from Chicago to Florida — with 1 million square feet of exhibitor booths, and the heavy power demands of the industrial equipment on the show floor, it's challenging in any country to find a suitable venue.

Still, the Pragati Maidan fairgrounds can provide only 20 megawatts of power and the show needs closer to 35 megawatts, said Shah, who is also director of Mumbai-based Trend PlastPouchPack Pvt. Ltd.

The fairground is made up of a series of smaller halls scattered over a large area, and the exhibition center is well-known among international exhibitors as being a challenging venue.

But, the show is one of the key entry points for foreign companies into India, and as a result is a well-attended and closely-watched event.

Its last edition in February 2012 had 1.07 million square feet of exhibition space, which Plastindia Foundation officials said made it the third-largest plastics show worldwide measured by exhibition space, moving it ahead of the NPE show. NPE2012 had about 920,000 square feet of exhibition space.

If they cannot move from Delhi this time, Shah said organizers may limit the exhibition space to about 800,000 square feet to make it more manageable.

Organizers are under the gun with the timing of any decision. The show is still planned for Feb. 5-10, 2015, but detailed work must begin soon.

Shah said he's closely monitoring plans to add more space to the grounds in Ahmedabad, Gujarat state, and at the venue in Noida, which is 430,000 square feet but could be doubled by the time of the show.

He said the expansion of the Gujarat exhibition grounds, near the Mahatma Mandir Convention Center, could be completed in 14 months. He said he was "very confident" that the new grounds could be ready in time.