The India International Trade Fair (IITF) kicked off on Tuesday in  a new look Pragati Maidan with many of the familiar pavilions having been demolished to pave the way for the Integrated Exhibition and Convention Center (IECC) that will come up soon.

Exhibitors were seen struggling with the space crunch and many states had to share space in a single hall. However, that failed to dampen the spirits of the exhibitors.

Dev Singh Borah from Assam said he has been coming here for several years but this is the first time that they have had to share the hall with other states. However, he had no complaints. “It will make it easier for people to visit the stalls of other states,” he said.

Even international participants like People’s Republic of China had to share their hall with Indian exhibitors. Danny Kong, one of the Chinese exhibitors, who has been coming here for the past two years said, “I have always been quite happy to come to India and the facilities made available here are excellent as always,” he said.

He did not seem to mind the paucity of space this time. His words were echoed by Julie Sunn, another Chinese participant, for whom this was her first trip to India. “The people here are very friendly and cooperative,” she said

Sunil Sheth, who is participating for the first time in the trade fair, said, “The Trade Fair has given me the platform to showcase our products to a much wider audience.”  He is displaying robotic models which he says will be the backbone of manufacturing in the future.

Nikita Mote from Maharashtra, another regular at the trade fair, said, “I am hopeful that the response will be overwhelming.” She explained that her company has made latest developments in the fields of agriculture, soil fertility and drip irrigation.

India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO) officials said the fair would be organised in eight halls.

They have also erected six temporary hangars, some as large as 5,000 square metres, to accommodate exhibitors. ITPO general manager J Gunasekaran said foreign participants would get 3,000 square metres of space, up from 1,900 square metres last year.

This time tickets will not be sold at the gates of Pragati Maidan, said Sanjay Vashistha, the deputy manager (PR) at ITPO. There will also be a cap on the number of visitors per day.

“Last time the footfall crossed over 1.5 lakh per day which created so much chaos and rush at the premises. But this time there will be a cap and we will figure out depending on the response after the fair will be thrown open for general public from 18 November,” he said.

The fair will open for the general public on 18 November, Saturday, from 9.30 a.m. to 7.30 p.m. While the general tickets will cost Rs 60 and Rs 40 for adults and children respectively on working days, ticket prices will increase to Rs 120 and Rs 60 on weekends. Till 17 November, the fair is open for business visitors and the tickets for them is Rs 500.