The Plastindia exhibition officially announced Oct. 7 that it's moving from New Delhi to Gujarat, but the sudden shift of venue four months before the mega-show starts continues to leave questions for some international exhibitors.
At an Oct. 7 press conference in Gujarat attended by high-ranking ministers in the Gujurat government, organizers said the Feb. 5-10 event would move to fairgrounds under construction in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, outside the city of Ahmedabad.
But Plastindia's largest overseas partner, Germany's Messe Düsseldorf, said it still was waiting for answers to questions it asked the organizer, Mumbai-based Plastindia Foundation, after Messe technical experts toured the yet-to-be completed fairgrounds in late September.
“We need, much more important, to get the answers to our questions to the Plastindia Foundation,” Joerg Duebelt, head of the international department at Messe Düsseldorf, told Plastics News in a telephone interview. “We do not like to panic here. Already we have sent a catalogue of questions to the officials of the Plastindia Foundation.”
He declined to disclose the results of Messe's review but said its exhibitors consider India an important market. He said Messe Düsseldorf is asking its companies for patience because the Gujarat location is “not very well known in the international crowd.”
Both Messe Düsseldorf and Plastindia's largest partner in Asia, Hong Kong-based Adsale Group, had written letters to the foundation in mid-September saying they were very surprised to learn that Plastindia was considering a move, with Adsale saying that it takes 18 months to properly plan a major show like Plastindia.
Both groups raised questions about jeopardizing contracts they had signed with exhibitors they were bringing, and Messe Düsseldorf wrote that it seemed “really impossible” to move without losing money.
Plastindia Foundation officials did not release a statement or reply to a Plastics News email or phone call, but according to Indian press reports, they said the move to the Mahatma Mandir Exhibition Center would bring the show closer to the Indian plastics industry.
About 45 percent of the Indian plastics industry is in Gujurat.
“We have taken this decision after thoughtful consideration keeping in mind the size and class of the venue and also of the potential exhibitors, visitors, researchers, institutes and international participants,” said J.R. Shah, chairman of the Plastindia 2015 organizing committee. “We are hopeful that such endeavor will help us provide better value proposition to all the stakeholders.”
The British Plastics Federation, which is organizing a country pavilion for United Kingdom companies, put out a statement Oct. 8 saying it was moving forward with its plans and looking for assurances from India regarding exhibition conditions.
“We expect that Plastindia will honor our agreements with regards to the size of the U.K. Pavilion and we look forward to receiving the new hall plan once available,” the group said.
Word of the move had also apparently prompted some nervousness among Indian exhibitors.
A group of about 90 Indian exhibitors met Oct. 1 in Gujarat and discussed whether to seek refunds of exhibition fees from Plastindia for moving the show, sources said.
In an email obtained by Plastics News, P. Kailas, managing director of Toshiba Machine (Chennai) Pvt. Ltd., wrote to the head of India's plastics machinery association ahead of that meeting that the planned move “is not good at this stage without any consultation and perhaps they should have shifted for next 2018 show.”
Kailas questioned the rates Plastindia planned to charge for the new venue, and said he could not attend the Oct. 1 meeting.
The show is India's largest plastics event and attracts more than 100,000 participants.