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PlastIndia move official, Council explains bold decision – An interview with NEC Chairman J. R. Shah

Hon. Minister Saurabh Patel addressing the press conference
Hon. Minister Saurabh Patel addressing the press conference

The ninth edition of Plastindia, i.e., Plastindia 2015, will be held at a new exhibition center in the vicinity of the Mahatma Mandir fairgrounds in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, according to an official announcement by Plastindia Foundation—the organizers of the mega event. The announcement was made at a press conference in the city of Ahmedabad on October 7, 2014.

Breaking away from its traditional venue, the Pragati Maidan fairgrounds in New Delhi, where the event has been held since its inception, Plastindia will move to a newly built exhibition centre in Gandhinagar, which is equipped with the latest facilities and infrastructure for hosting such prestigious events, asserted Mr. Saurabh Patel, State Cabinet Minister, Government of Gujarat. Mr. Patel lauded the Plastindia Foundation for taking the bold and challenging initiative to move the event to Gujarat and assured full cooperation from the government for making the event a grand success. Mr. Patel went on to say that the government of Gujarat will be shortly announcing a new industrial policy in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" campaign, which will ensure all possible support for all manufacturers, including plastics manufacturers and processors, that are looking for capacity expansion and diversification. Mr. Patel also quipped that the traffic conditions in Gandhinagar are far better than those in major metropolitan cities where a considerable amount of time is lost is commuting rather than spent doing business.

Mr. Patel speaking with the media

Plastindia is the world's third-largest and India's largest International Plastics Exhibition & Conference. Plastindia 2015 will be held from February 5 to 10, 2015, and is touted as the "Biggest Business Opportunity of 2015." The expo will be spread across 125,000 sq. meters and will be able to accommodate an estimated 7,000 delegates, 150,000 visitors and 2,000 exhibitors, 400 of which are foreign participants. While acknowledging concerns of limited accommodation facilities in Gandhinagar, Mr. J. R. Shah, Chairman – National Executive Council, in an exclusive interview with POLYMERUPDATE said that Plastindia 2015 will be preceded by two major events—the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas and the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor Summit-2015—and Plastindia 2015 will benefit from the infrastructure and secondary facilities that will be created for those events.

Mr. Shah justified the move to Gandhinagar from the 40-year-old exhibition center in Delhi that lacked adequate power and other basic support by stating that Plastindia will now be closer to the hub of the plastics industry in the country as about 60 percent of the plastics industry in India is based in the state of Gujarat. Mr. Shah went on to say the decision was a unanimous one reached after thoughtful consideration of the size and class of the venue and also the potential of the exhibitors, visitors, researchers, institutes and international participants.

Interview of Mr. J.R. Shah (JR) with Lekhraj Ghai (LG) of POLYMERUPDATE:

Mr. J. R. Shah, Chairman - National Executive Council

Mr. J. R. Shah, Chairman - National Executive Council

LG: What are your thoughts on the accommodation facilities in Gandhinagar?

JR: I cannot say for sure that the accommodation facilities available in Gandhinagar will be as good as those available in New Delhi. We are also mindful of the fact that exhibitors will have to arrive a few days earlier for mounting and leave a few days after the event gets over for dismantling the stalls. However, with the support of the government of Gujarat, we should be able to provide the exhibitors and visitors with top-quality accommodation, transportation and connectivity facilities. Moreover, Plastindia 2015 will benefit from the preceding major events—the Pravasi Bhartiya Divas and the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor Summit-2015—and the infrastructure and secondary facilities that are being created for these events will be useful for Plastindia 2015 as well. Also, there is ample time-gap between the end of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investor Summit and the start of Plastindia 2015, which will allow sufficient time for appropriate preparations to be made.

LG: What are the advantages that Gandhinagar has as the venue for Plastindia?

JR: Gandhinagar is located at the epicenter of plastics activity in the country. The state of Gujarat houses about 60 percent of the plastics industry in India and the locational convenience will be a catalyst for a large turnout during the event. Moreover, the venue offers ultra-modern facilities including air-conditioned halls that have a convenient layout for easy crowd movement and ample car parking. Gandhinagar is also one of the most modern and well-planned cities in India and is connected adequately by road, rail and air in addition to having one of the best port facilities in India, which will ensure easy movement of cargo. Also, like Mr. Patel pointed out, commuting in Gandhinagar will be easier than that in major metropolitan cities, allowing more time for business.

LG: What are the key factors that determine the success of Plastindia?

JR: Plastindia 2015 is all-important and the success of this event will decide the fate of future Plastindia editions. The exhibition is not just a nice, large carpeted space for displaying products and services; it is about value creation and value addition. Plastindia is not a "Mela" but a huge "canvas" where exhibitors will be provided with a platform to showcase all that they have to offer in a short period of time. At the same time, visitor satisfaction is also crucial. Visitors come only when the feel that there is an opportunity to see or learn something new. Not all visitors at Plastindia will be buyers; there will be some who are seeking business partners, technology partners, education partners. The event's success thus depends on the whether the visitor leaves with the feeling of having obtained what he/she was looking for, be it product, supplier or technology or learning and networking opportunities. It should be noted that Vibrant Gujarat is a business summit whereas Plastindia is also a technology exhibition.

LG: How different is Plastindia 2015 from its previous iterations?

JR: In addition to the change of venue and the promise to be bigger and better than before, Plastindia 2015 will see large participation from the student community. Plastindia is perhaps the only body that has a special student participation and visit committee and we have invited over 5,000 student from across India to witness the event. Being a plastics engineer myself, I understand the importance of being able to witness machines in operation, to observe new materials and be acquainted with the latest innovations. It takes 4¬–5 years for an engineering student to see as many machines in practical operation; while at Plastindia, students will get the unique opportunity to see a large and varied display of machinery, moulds, dies, materials in a matter of 4–5 days. The Plastindia Foundation has allotted a subsidy of Rs. 1 million towards the conveyance of the visiting students.

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