Punjab aims to develop Amritsar as expo hub

December 14th, 2010 - 2:20 pm ICT by IANS  

By Jaideep Sarin
Amritsar, Dec 14 (IANS) It is famous as the Sikh holy city, but Amritsar could soon come to be known as a trade expo hub. After nearly 300,000 footfalls at an international trade exhibition, Punjab now plans to set up a permanent convention centre here on the lines of Delhi’s Pragati Maidan. Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal has announced that the government would collaborate with the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) to set up the new convention centre here.

The announcement came after the fifth edition of the Punjab International Trade Expo (PITEX) concluded here Sunday.

“Looking at the increase in trade and commerce in the region, the government, in collaboration with the PHD Chamber, will set up a permanent convention centre like Pragati Maidan here in Amritsar so that each year such temporary arrangements do not have to be made for the trade expo,” Badal said.

The response of the public and exhibitors to PITEX this year has left the PHDCCI, the organizer of the fair, quite upbeat. The first expo was held here in 2005.

“PITEX-2010 saw nearly 300,000 footfalls. The rush was quite unmanageable on the last two days of the five-day event. This shows that Amritsar holds a lot of potential for trade,” Rajiv Bali, chairman of the Punjab committee of the PHDCCI, told IANS.

“The setting up of a permanent convention centre will improve things further. A permanent expo centre here is the need of the hour.”

Badal said Amritsar, some 200 km from Chandigarh, and Mohali, some 10 km from Chandigarh, will get permanent convention centres.

“Places like Frankfurt (Germany) and Dubai (UAE) are thriving only on the basis of being major centres for trade expos. We want to develop our cities on those lines,” Badal added.

PITEX this year saw participation not only from leading private companies and public sector undertakings (PSUs) but also exhibitors from Pakistan. Delegates from Ethiopia, Britain, Thailand, Pakistan and Canada also took part.

“The response and love we have received at this year’s PITEX has been amazing. We look forward to coming here again next year,” Mohammed Khurshid Barlas, chief executive of the Pakistan World Trade and Expo Centre and representative of the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told IANS here.

Spread over 10,000 sq m, the expo had 10 special pavilions including on education, kitchen, home products, consumer items, food and farm, health, financial services, realty, textiles and auto.

“Such expos provide business communities of the participating countries an opportunity to set up common markets and work with each other to uplift trade in future,” said Dalip Sharma, regional director, PHDCCI.

Over 100 exhibitors from Lebanon, Thailand, Egypt, China, Poland, Pakistan, Myanmar, Vietnam, Nepal, Central Asia and Southeast Asia and over 300 exhibitors from India participated in PITEX this year.

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