Thefts at Indian trade fair upset participants

New Delhi, November 26:

Incidents of petty thefts at the ongoing India International Trade Fair (IITF) have upset many of the overseas participants who are here to do business in one of the largest global markets.

“I have been participating in trade fairs all over the world, including in the US and Europe, but my experience here has been bitter due to the daily pilferage,” said a tearful Panrudee Pangopaswong, marketing director of Thailand’s Lailan Décor Intertrade. “The last straw is the fact that someone has taken away a whole bunch of bouquets placed on display,” Pangopaswong said, pointing to the bare display table at her counter at the exhibition. Thailand is the focus country at the IITF this year. Pangopaswong, who is participating in IITF for the first time, is among the several participants from Thailand winding up their show today — two days before the fortnight-long fair ends — fearing the huge crowds that throng in the weekend.

The Thai pavilion with 35 companies participating is proving a major draw this year with its range of home decoration articles, natural fibre bags, cosmetics and accessories. Some of the foreign participants were philosophical about the petty thefts, considering the large crowds that visit the trade fair. The security this time is very tight keeping in mind the October 29 bomb blasts in the capital. Athasit Buranahet, marketing director of Schwantip Handicraft Co of Thailand, recounted his nasty experience of having his bag containing money and passport stolen in the brief moment he turned to see what was causing a prickly sensation on his back.

“Thankfully the cops were able to retrieve my bag and passport after I lodged a complaint. The money was, however, not recovered,” Buranahet said. Some the participants from Turkey, Iran and Pakistan also admitted to pilferages by visitors, particularly during the afternoons when the rush of visitors peaks. However, the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), the organisers, claimed that there have been no major incidents of crime so far this year. One official said, “This time things have been incident-free due to better security arrangements including closed-circuit television in many of the halls.”

The biggest trade show in Asia, IITF has this year so far received about 75 overseas trade delegations from countries like the US, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Canada, Japan, Israel and Palestine. Several high-level delegations from Brazil, Congo, Russia and Panama have visited the fair, which showcases Indian industrial, IT, food processing, textile and agro sector expertise. The special focus of the show marking the silver jubilee year of India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) is the power and telecom sector.