New Delhi: It was meant to be the second media day at the ongoing 11th Auto Expo here, but poor crowd management pushed reporters to the backseat as milling crowds flooded Pragati Maidan here.
Journalists, who have come here in large numbers from different parts of the world to cover one of the most prestigious trade shows in India — which is being held at Pragati Maidan — were visibly upset with the level of mismanagement on the part of the organisers CII, SIAM and the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India.
“The mismanagement was at its peak at the Maruti Press Conference. Due to the huge crowd at Hall (14), company management had to close one of the entry gates and as a result, many of my colleagues could not make it,” one foreign journalist, who asked not to be identified, said.
After a lot of pull and push, the journalist could enter, but her plight did not diminish there itself. After falling down twice to the floor, she managed to enter the hall, but found she could not go near to the press conference as the area was jam-packed with car enthusiasts.
“I heard Maruti officials requesting non-media crowd to vacate the pavilion to make it less difficult for media people. However, their appeals went into deaf ears,” she said.
The scene at the Mahindra & Mahindra pavilion was no less messy. As enthusiasts overtook the floor, the company’s President (Automotive and Farm Sectors) Pawan Goenka had to first cross-check if people asking questions were from the media or not.
Goenka, who was speaking to media at the unveiling of company’s Reva electric vehicle, stopped an over-enthusiastic visitor by saying, “I am sorry. This is for media. I will talk to you later on.”
There were 23 press conferences scheduled during the day.
The problem was further aggravated at the reception to collect media kits. At the Mahindra pavilion, visitors started collecting press kits, prompting company officials to make it mandatory for journalists to flash their visiting cards to get the same.
An official of a Chinese auto-component company said, “This is my first time in India. Although, I am enjoying the experience, the crowd is so much that I could not even walk. This is disappointing.”
Asked the reason for such a huge crowd, CII Trade Fair Office Senior Director Virendra Gupta said apart from the media, invitees were also allowed to visit the fair on Friday.
However, Dhruv, an engineering student from Noida, had a different story to tell.
“I have arranged the pass through contacts. Obviously, all these people are not from the media and you know how these can be arranged,” he said with a grin on his face.
This edition of the Auto Expo has had its share of issues with the Delhi Fire Service Department denying a no-objection certificate till the last minute due to non-compliance with rules by the organisers.
With PTI Inputs