Construction major Shapoorji Pallonji known for building numerous iconic buildings has beaten L&T in the race to bag the government's Rs 2,600 cr project to redevelop the ITPO (India Trade Promotion Organisation) complex at Pragati Maidan in the national capital into an exhibition-cum-convention centre.
“With India's growing global profile, New Delhi needed a modern world-class exhibition-cumconvention centre to provide an appropriate venue for international events,” said an official.
The ITPO complex has been serving as the venue for a number of global events held annually like the India International Trade Fair, World Book Fair and Petrotech. The central government is looking to host the flagship auto expo and other mega events like the G20 meetings once the property is redeveloped.
The redevelopment work is expected to be completed in two years and the project includes creation of a state-of-the-art convention centre with a capacity to seat 7,000 people, almost five times the capacity of Vigyan Bhawan, the government's premier convention centre.
As per the contract, the company will also have to build meeting halls, lounges and create basement parking space for about 4,800 cars. Capacity addition for exhibition space of abo ut 80,000 sq m along with supporting infrastructure is envisaged for later. The project was earlier estimated to cost Rs 2,254 cr, but it rose to Rs 2,600 cr due to the roll out of the goods and services tax.
ITPO will cough up about half of this amount from its reserves and fund the balance of the project through long-term loan from banks and financial institutions with government guarantee, or through soft loans, external aid and land monetisation.
Management of the crowd during fairs is a challenge and for its flagship India International Trade Fair this year the organisation may cap the number of tickets sold or raise the ticket fee on a few days. From 1.4 million visitors for the trade fair last year, ITPO plans to regulate footfalls to 1 million in the two-week-long fair this year, as the exhibition area is likely to halve to almost 52,000 sq metre.
ITPO, a mini-ratna public sector undertaking under the commerce ministry , runs the exhibition centre which was inaugurated in 1972 by former prime minister Indira Gandhi.