Several exhibitors at India's largest plastics show are suing to prevent the show from moving from New Delhi to a new exhibition center under construction in Gujarat, accusing organizers of making a rash decision to move the massive fair five months before it opens.
The lawsuit, a writ of petition filed with the High Court in Delhi, comes from five companies and two executives, all from the New Delhi region, alleging breach of contract and asking the court to keep the February Plastindia show in its longtime home, the Pragati Maidan Fairgrounds in New Delhi.
An initial hearing is likely to take place the week of Nov. 10.
Plastics News has not seen the writ of petition, which under Indian court rules was not yet public before deadline. But sources said it's been circulated to various parties named as defendants in the suit, including the Mumbai-based Plastindia Foundation, which organizes the show, and government agencies in India.
The companies bringing the lawsuit include auxiliary equipment maker Aerodry Group; Hitco Electricals Pvt. Ltd., a manufacturer of heaters and temperature control equipment; Acme Die Systems Pvt. Ltd., a manufacturer of molds for PET preforms and bottle caps, and several others.
The Plastindia Foundation's announcement in September that it was moving the show, to be held from Feb. 5-10, has been controversial in the Indian industry and among some international exhibitors.
PIF officials have said they are moving because the Pragati Maidan exhibition center is old and isn't up to modern standards for an international plastic fair, including having sufficient power connections.
But sources familiar with the lawsuit said it questions moving to an exhibition center still being built in Gandhinagar, near the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat state, and to an area with fewer hotels and weaker international transportation connections.
“If it shifts for the betterment, that is fine, but there is no infrastructure,” one executive familiar with the writ said. “They want to shift without any logic. … We definitely have to protest against this.”
Plastindia officials did not reply to calls and emails requesting comment, but on their website PIF President Subhash Kadakia wrote an open letter asking for support.
“While I understand your concern of venue, I must inform you there is no choice left for us but to move the venue of Plastindia 2015 to Gandhinagar, Gujarat,” he wrote. “It is all circumstantial!
“I seek support from you all, to make this event a great success even though the venue is changed,” he wrote. “We have great support from overseas partners, Government of Gujarat and Government of India. Please ignore the rumors and come with an open mind.”
But a common theme among executives familiar with the lawsuit was that the sudden shift reflects poorly on India in the global plastics industry.
The show is held every three years and is on a similar scale to NPE in the United States. One executive familiar with the writ said the show is a key chance to meet with international customers, and that's going to be more difficult.
One source familiar with the writ speculated that officials in the government of Gujarat, the home state of India's energetic new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were taking advantage of his rise to power to pressure PIF to move the show.
Plastindia's largest overseas partner, Germany's Messe Düsseldorf, hinted at similar concerns in a September letter to PIF, telling PIF executives that, “We do understand there must be tremendous pressure from the Government of Gujarat.”