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Trade polishes biz showcase
- Foreign participation boost for fair
HOW THE FAIR HAS GROWN
2003
Participation by 800 units from public and private sectors
Orders worth Rs 73.4 crore booked
Business inquiries generated to record level of Rs 1.37 crore
2002
Participation by 700 units from private and public sectors
Orders worth Rs 69.4 crore booked
Over seven lakh visitors
Participation by SAARC countries
2001
52 per cent growth in participation since 2001; 645 participating units
Orders worth Rs 70.6 crore booked
80 per cent rise in inquiries over 2000

Energy-saving lamps and hi-tech electronic gadgets from China, housing expertise from Singapore and tourism packages from Malaysia… Welcome to Calcutta shining!

When the mahamichhil hits you where it hurts, just wipe out the Wednesday woes and fast forward to December, when the “second largest fair in the country” hits town.

Some 110 days after the Bengal-means-business government promises to paralyse the city — with the Left Front chairman taking the lead in raising the disruption decibel — it will be backing a business chamber to scale up its annual fair and make it a grand showcase of the state.

Starting December 20, the 11-day Industrial India Trade Fair, organised by Bengal National Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the state government, will boast high foreign participation to give business a boost.

“The purpose of the trade fair is to promote trade and industry in Bengal and we hope it will come into special focus this year,” said chief secretary Ashoke Gupta.

“The major areas for promoting trade in Bengal have been identified,” said Samir Ghosh, chairman of the trade fair. The thrust areas identified for this year are infrastructure (housing, power, roads), information technology, iron and steel, food processing and jute.

“Health will be the other focus area for the state government in the fair. Through the participants from Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, we will try to strengthen health sector ties with the region,” said state health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra.

“The fair will provide a chance for entrepreneurs to participate independently or under nodal agencies of the central and state governments,” observed N.N. Khanna, chairman and managing director of Indian Trade Promotion Council, one of the partners of the fair.

If China is staging a comeback after a gap of four years, countries like Malaysia and Singapore will be making their débuts. Thailand, which could not participate in the last few fairs, will also be back.

The largest foreign contingent, as in the previous few years, will be from Pakistan, confirmed the organisers.

Wooing China back to the fair would give the initiative a big boost, they added. “Some Chinese delegates have already sent feelers and expressed their desire to join hands with us in the field of electronics and agri-products,” said fair chairman Ghosh.

Riding on last year’s success, where trade orders worth Rs 73.4 crore were booked and business inquiries added up to Rs 1.37 crore, the chamber and the government have formed separate teams to prepare for the fair.

“Each team has been assigned the task of portraying a new Bengal in all its glory. We have been encouraged by the interest shown by foreign participants,” said Ghosh.

The Maidan fair will accommodate 800 stalls displaying a host of products, equipment, technology and services related to areas like telecommunications, chemicals, textiles and healthcare.

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