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Plastindia 2021 moves back to New Delhi

Satnam Singh | PLASTICS NEWS

Gandhinagar, India -- The Plastindia trade show, India's largest plastics fair, is moving out of Gujarat and returning to New Delhi for its next edition in 2021, according to the head of the Plastindia Foundation, which organizes the event.

The show will move back to its previous location, a rebuilt Pragati Maidan fairgrounds.

"Plastindia 2021 is moving back to Pragati Maidan, New Delhi," said K.K. Seksaria, president of the Mumbai-based Plastindia Foundation, in an interview. "Construction of [the] all-new show venue is in full-swing and a major portion of the venue would be ready by August 2019."

The show, which takes place every three years, moved its 2015 edition to the city of Gandhinagar, in the state of Gujarat. Its most recent edition, in February, took place there too.

The move had been controversial in 2015. The abrupt timing drew questions from some of Plastindia's international partners, including K Fair organizer Messe Düsseldorf.

As well, some Delhi-based exhibitors filed a lawsuit at the time, alleging pressure from allies of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who ran the Gujarat government before taking over the national government.

Critics argued that hotel capacity and transportation options in Gandhinagar and nearby Ahmedabad were much more limited than in Delhi.

But organizers had said that Pragati Maidan was very outdated and squeezed for space, and they felt Gandhinagar's newly built Mahatma Mandir showgrounds could offer an improvement. They also noted that Gujarat is India's largest state for plastics manufacturing.

India's government is spending 22.54 billion rupees ($350 million) to redevelop Pragati Maidan. It will double exhibition space to almost 1.29 million square feet. The first phase is expected to be complete by May 2019.

"Pragati Maidan will be ready by the second half of next year, much before Plastindia 2021," Seksaria said, noting that the venue would likely to be ready on time as there is strict completion clause outlined, along with incentives to complete it before the deadline.

There was some discontent among exhibitors at this year's Plastindia, about logistics, hotel room availability and costs compared to Delhi. Some said high hotel rates forced both Indian and foreign exhibitors to curtail space and participation.

One executive with a German equipment maker, speaking on condition of anonymity, bemoaned the hotel costs.

"We are paying three to four times more for hotel rooms compared to what we normally pay for a room in a five-star hotel in Gandhinagar, forcing us to cut our participation," the executive said. "We now have much smaller participation largely due to high hotel tariffs."

The dates for the 2018 show also clashed with India's major motor show, Auto Expo 2018 in Delhi, and some said that may have hurt auto sector participation in the plastics event.

Still, Seksaria said this year's edition of the show went well.

"Despite all the constraints, the show picked-up well in Gujarat, as number of visitors jumped to all time high," he said.

"Plastindia 2018 emerged as one of the biggest shows in terms of [foot traffic]," he said, noting that it received an estimated 245,000 visitors over its six days and reached a single-day record of 69,000 on the third day of the exhibition. The fair drew almost 1,800 exhibitors from 44 countries.

"To the best of our knowledge, the average [attendance]of more than 40,000 per day is the highest in any plastics exhibition held ... anywhere in the world," he said, in a statement.

The change in venue was foreshadowed at this year's show by one of the fair's largest overseas partners, Messe Düsseldorf, which put-up a poster naming New Delhi as the location for Plastindia 2021. A spokesperson for Messe Düsseldorf was not available for comments during the show.


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