The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Exhibition of lost chances
The Hyderabad complex

Calcutta, Nov. 2: One of the world’s largest trade fair companies, Messe Dusseldorf, had come calling on the state government to build a permanent exhibition complex seven years ago, but hit a dead end.

Calcutta’s loss was Hyderabad’s gain.

The Andhra capital was nowhere in the frame when Messe Dusseldorf presented a feasibility report to the government on the possibility of collaborating on a fair ground in March 1999.

Prepared by the German development agency DEG, the report considered a 40-acre plot on the EM Bypass next to the Satyajit Ray film institute. There was a legal wrangle over the title of the land, but the government had promised to sort it out.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the government and the Indian Trade Promotion Organisation for the complex, but Messe Dusseldorf never heard anything more.

“They subsequently invested heavily elsewhere in Asia,” B.G. Roy, regional director, Indo-German Chamber of Commerce, had said in November 2002.

Hyderabad was one of these cities, where the German company provided the technology and expertise for a complex sitting on 15,000 square metres.

A second German proposal came in 2004 when Deutsche Messe AG Hannover offered “assistance in the designing and planning” of a complex then proposed to be set up by the West Bengal Trade Promotion Organisation. Again,the project went nowhere.

“To convey the right image and encourage meaningful dialogue (with visiting business delegations), such a facility is a must,” said local businessman Hemant Kanoria.

Architect and urban designer Partha Ranjan Das added: “We haven’t realised the difference between a wedding pandal and a fair ground. We love to be wrapped in mediocrity.”

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