Some in India's plastics industry, it seems, were having second thoughts about the decision to move the next edition of their signature show, PlastIndia, from New Delhi to Gujarat. Their concern — that the new exhibition center in Gujarat wouldn't be ready in time for the February 2015 event.
But after debate this summer within the PlastIndia Foundation, the trade association that organizes the show, and after assurances from the government of Gujarat on construction of the new fairgrounds, the foundation has decided to stick with Gujarat.
This comes from two PlastIndia Foundation officials, J.R. Shah and L.K. Singh, speaking on the sidelines of the Asia Plastics Forum. The forum, held Sept. 25-26 in Taizhou, China, is an annual meeting of the region's trade association leaders.
The PlastIndia Foundation is in a tough position with the location of the show. The Pragati Maidan fairgrounds in New Delhi that has been home to PlastIndia lags well behind facilities in Germany, North America and China. It lacks adequate electric power capacity for an industrial show like plastics, and it's in desperate need of modernization.
But it's a gamble to move such a big event to a yet-to-be-completed fairgrounds.
The last PlastIndia in 2012 had more than 1 million square feet of exhibition space, making it the world's third biggest plastics show measured by space, nudging past NPE in the United States.
It's India's largest plastics show and a major entry point for foreign companies into its expanding market. The Foundation uses proceeds from the show to fund other activities, playing a similar role that NPE does for the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.
So there's a lot riding on PlastIndia's success.
Singh, who is a vice president of PlastIndia Foundation and managing director of rotational molding equipment maker Fixopan Machines Pvt. Ltd., said the show still has the option to go back to Delhi if there are problems.
He confirmed there was “a lot of discussion” about going back to Delhi within the Foundation in July and August, but he said in the end the group decided to stay in Gujarat. He left the door open a crack for returning to Delhi in 2015, but said it's a greater than 99 percent chance the show will be in Gujarat.
The Foundation put a news release on its website on Sept. 20 reaffirming that the 2015 show, slated for Feb. 5-10, will be at Gujarat's Mahatma Mandir fairgrounds, in Gandhinagar, outside Ahmedabad.
You can make a business case for Gujarat. The state is a major center of plastics in India, it has a reputation as business friendly and it's also the site of a plastics training university that the PlastIndia Foundation is building.
But India's also well-known for poor infrastructure and difficulties in getting new projects built on time. That's no slight against PlastIndia Foundation, but the group will no doubt face some major challenges in the next 16 months getting the show ready in a new venue.
(Thanks to Steve Toloken, Plastics News' Asia bureau chief, for this item.)