Voices of discontent over management of the 11th edition of Auto Expo are getting louder with several business honchos expressing dissatisfaction over the way the international show has been organised.
Business leaders have criticised the poor management of the show saying that the week-long event, which saw participation of over 50 global brands, is a "serious business" and not just a "tamasha".
"I am very disappointed at how it (Auto Expo) is being managed. The space is awful, the cleanliness standards are terrible. This is an international show not a 'tamasha' or an entertainment where families and kids can just walk in and think of having fun," Man Force Trucks Chairman Abhay Firodia said.
Visitors from overseas have also complained on the mismanagement of the event. "Compared to other international auto shows, here we have found that the area is not so clean. There are garbages all around and toilets are also not clean. In other expos, like Tokyo, Frankfurt or Chicago, these things are maintained very properly," Takata India Member of the Board Itaru Kado said.
Expressing similar views, Continental AG Member of the Executive Board (Division Interior) Helmut Matschi said: "Everyone was wearing an official badge on the first two days. It is interesting to see even small children on these days."
The Auto Expo is being organised by industry body CII along with Society for Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) and Auto Components Manufacturers Association (ACMA).
The latest edition of the biennial event witnessed unveiling of 24 cars by domestic companies and eight by global players, besides eight two-wheelers by homegrown firms.
The show has participation from by 1,500 exhibitors from 24 nations, including the US, China, Thailand and Turkey. The Delhi edition, which is considered to be one of the largest auto expos in the world, is spread across 1.15 lakh square metres of exhibition space.
While most have complained that the venue was overcrowded on the first two days itself though these days were restricted only for media and VIPs, others have said there is no proper arrangement for commuting inside the complex.
"The Auto Expo is no longer India specific. It has a global audience. If we are claiming this to be the second largest in Asia, then we need to set our standards to that level. When our foreign visitors come here, we expect them to take the image of India from the expo with them," Harley-Davidson India Director- Marketing, Sanjay Tripathi said.
Tripathi said the crowd mismanagement has left a bad taste on participants. "We have not learnt anything from the past. We are not sure how so much of crowd came during the media and invitee days," he added.
Though the event has been opened for public viewing from January 7-11, a large chunk of people from different walks of life have already visited in the first two days (January 5-6) itself. "We are not able to make proper interactions with people for business. People have put in their arms and legs and spent crores of rupees coming here. The organisers should take care of this," Firodia said.
According to industry sources, the organisers have issued one pass for every square metre of space booked by the participants, resulting in a total of about 1.15 lakh free passes for the first two days.
When contacted, an official of the Organising Committee of the Auto Expo said on the condition of anonymity, "Yes, we have issued passes to all the participants as per their area of booking."
Mahindra & Mahindra Vice-Chairman and MD Anand Mahindra who had made his displeasure over the poor crowd management at the expo said it was high time the show was shifted to a new venue.
"We need a better venue with more capacity and the government should help CII and SIAM in finding a new location for the expo. We must put our best foot forward to showcase this event to the world," he said.
Some business leaders, however, said the solution for the cramped space and chaos at the complex can be solved if the show is extended for a couple of more days.
"The response is overwhelming. Having said that I think the show should be extended for a couple of days more. Also the show has outgrown space," TAFE Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mallika Srinivasan said.
Industry Body CII, one of the main organisers of the event, has said it is already considering extending the show though it would mean additional cost.
"We are considering to extend the show by a couple of days more. For the next Auto show we will put this proposal as organisers, but it is for the exhibitors to take the final call on it as each extra day would mean additional cost for them," CII Trade Fairs Council Chairman Rajive Kaul said.
He said lessons learnt from the experience this time is that one day should be strictly kept for media and exhibitors, and no extra passes should be given out for that day.