Day 1 rush: 70,000 visit trade fair

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SummaryDelhi Metro officials said more than 35,000 fair tickets were sold at its stations.

It was Day One windfall at the 32nd India International Trade Fair at Pragati Maidan, which was opened to all visitors on Monday, as approximately 70,000 people landed there to look and buy the goodies from 21 countries.

Delhi Metro officials said more than 35,000 fair tickets were sold at its stations.

Only business visitors were allowed till Sunday at the fair, which was inaugurated on November 14. The international participants were anticipating the rush after the five business days. The highest footfalls were recorded at stalls selling consumer products.

The India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), organisers of the fair, said the idea was to increase trade, not the number of visitors. ITPO general manager (corporate communications) Prabhat Sharma said: “Ticket counters were closed by 4 pm so that the visitors inside Pragati Maidan were not squished by an overwhelming crowd.” Still, 70,000 was an “overwhelming” number.

There are 58 ticket counters at Metro stations and Pragati Maidan. No ticket will be sold if the day’s volume touches 1 lakh tickets.

Another top priority was safety and keeping Mathura Road snarl-free. A fine of Rs 600 will be slapped on any car parked on Mathura Road, Bhairon Road and Purana Qilla Road till November 27 when the the fair ends.

Traffic officers said 243 people were fined in the first five days of the fair for unauthorised parking.

DCP Mangesh Kashyap said 3,000 police personnel have been deployed to provide security to the visitors at the fair.

Though people were happy with the arrangements, there were grumbles from exhausted elderly visitors who had to walk the entire expanse of Pragati Maidan because the shuttle service was restricted to VIPs and the “jury” members.

Many of them said they were exhausted even before they entered Pragati Maidan because they had to stand in long queues outside the gates. The tickets and passes were barcoded and entry was allowed only after adequate scanning, which could not keep pace with the rush. The young didn’t mind. “I visit the fair every year because it offers an international food and shopping experience,” college student Mayank said.

A strict “no” at the fair is the use of polythene bags. “A couple of state pavilions were giving polythene bags. They have been directed to stop it immediately. At least 20 stores are selling subsidised eco-friendly bags,” a fair official said.

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