Change of hall disappoints Pakistani traders at IITF

New Delhi, Nov 15 (IANS) A change of display hall has made a difference to business at the 35th edition of the India International Trade Fair, said some Pakistani traders, for whom the event started on a slow note.

With over 7,000 firms from India and overseas participating, the largest trade fair in the country began on Saturday at Pragati Maidan.

While the first five days of the fair have been reserved exclusively for business visitors, the public can go on a shopping spree at the exposition from November 19 until its conclusion on November 27.

“This is my fourth time here as a participant. I know that the first few days are blocked for business visitors, but we have always had good business. This year, they changed the hall. Last year, we were given hall number six and now it’s one. Change of hall makes a lot of difference,” Rizwana Shahid, CEO, Sha.Sha.Beauty collection, told IANS.

“We should have been given a separate hall. We are sharing it with people from Bangladesh, Hong Kong and UAE,” added Shahid, who has brought handmade coats, pure silk suits, shararas and more to cater to the north Indian fasionistas.

“The Indian market is good. We have a similar culture, so that’s the benefit. There are many north Indians who are interested in our products, but I have noticed that India is hosting lots of small exhibitions as well. So, products like mine are easy to access now. That also affects the business,” she said.

Another exhibitor from Pakistan didn’t like the idea of being alotted a different hall this year.

“The sale hasn’t been good. There is a lot of confusion among consumers because of the hall. It should have been the same,” said Maswood Umar, marketing manager of Laziza International that provides ready-to-cook spices.

Their concerns were supported by the fact that some shoppers were spotted enquiring about Pakistani stalls.

“We went to hall number six thinking that we would find Pakistan stalls there. But it got shifted. There are less people to guide here, so yes it is slightly inconvenient,” said a 45-year-old who had come from Meerut to buy various products, including the popular suits, from Pakistan.

The stalls of the country also had unstitched fabrics, handmade dupattas, mobile pouches, cushions and much more. But again, there were fewer takers.

While some complained about the hall, there were some who were simply happy to be a part of the fair.

“This hall is slightly tiny. But as long as we are here, we are happy,” said Shujaat Ali Malik, owner of Marhaba Designer.

“The market is good. Wherever there is a huge population, the market will be good. But coming to India was a little difficult for us this time. Five of my family members were turned away. This has never happened,” he added.

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