‘Largest’ trade show opens, but not to a packed house

Vibrant gujarat Empty spaces dot tourism, textile and mines pavilions; domes housing real estate, banking sectors remain abuzz.

As the Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade Show 13, touted as the largest exhibition ever in India, got under way at Town Hall on Tuesday, the state-of-the-art venue spread over one lakh square metres was not full to capacity.

Even as Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who inaugurated the exhibition, dubbed Gujarat as a "trend setter" in organising trade shows, a large area was seen unoccupied in domes dedicated to tourism, plastic, textile, and mines & minerals sectors.

On the other hand, domes dedicated to food and agro, gems and jewellery, banking and finance, and real estate housed enough companies.

The state government seems to have left no stone unturned to make it a grandiose affair both area and duration-wise, as the trade show, which is part of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors' Summit starting January 11, will last for six days.

There are around 1,000 stalls displaying 25,000 products at 13 domes and 15 exclusive pavilions, with organisers expecting a footfall of over 15 lakh. The air-conditioned and Wi-Fi enabled venue is under CCTV surveillance.

Principal Secretary (Industries) Maheshwar Sahu said, "There are total 195 companies participating, including 100 Indian and 95 foreign."

At the International Tourism dome, there were around 12 stalls over some 1200-square metre area. States like Jharkhand and Union Territories like Dadra & Nagar Haveli had booked stalls but did not turn up till the inauguration at 11.15 am.

"While we did not aim to bring foreign countries in Tourism sector, some Indian ones could not turn up because of security reasons," said Principal Secretary (Tourism) Vipul Mitra.

The picture was little different at textile and mines & mineral domes while at gems and jewellery pavilion, participants were yet to set up stalls. In many of these domes, several stalls wore a deserted look even names of the companies that might have booked them hung there.

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