It has been 79 years and the enthusiasm and eagerness remains the same. Like visitors, stall owners and others too are all excited about the All India Industrial Exhibition, popularly known as Numaish, which is all set to open on Wednesday January 1, 2020.

In the wake of last year’s fire accident, there were speculations that stall owners might not evince much interest in the event. But the response has been as usual. Majority of the traders, who had set up stalls last year have approached the society for setting up their stalls this time too, said Exhibition Society secretary B Prabha Shankar.

However, the number of stalls this year have been reduced for more walkways to ensure free movement of visitors, besides sufficient space for fire tenders and ambulances to reach the spot, in case of any untoward incident.

All the overhead power cables have been shifted underground and a comprehensive firefighting system was in place. Two water sumps with 1.5 lakh litres capacity have been constructed and a 2-km underground pipeline laid covering every stall and place on the Exhibition Grounds. As many 80 fire hydrants have been established with each one equipped with 30 metres flexible hose, he added.

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Every year, around 20 lakh people visit the Numaish and about 2,000 stalls are set up offering a wide variety of products and services, besides entertainment.

The exhibition will be launched on January 1 by Home Minister Mohd Mahmood Ali and Animal Husbandry Minister T Srinivas Yadav and Mayor Bonthu Rammohan. Exhibition Society is an 80-year-old organisation and the first exhibition was held at the Public Gardens in 1938 and the venue was shifted to the current Exhibition Grounds in 1946.

Contribution to exchequer
Apart from entertainment and industrial trade, the Numaish has been contributing to the government’s exchequer since its inception. During 2018-19, the Exhibition Society contributed about Rs 6.90 crore to the government in the form of GST, trade licence fee, utility charges etc. With 500 stalls being reduced this year, there was a possibility of the gross revenue dipping. Last year, about Rs 16 crore gross revenue was generated, including Rs 6 crore through ticketing fee and Rs 10 crore through stalls fee, said a member of the Exhibition Society.

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On the other hand, for the first time in the 80 years history of All India Industrial Exhibition, this edition of Numaish will have an public liability insurance cover of Rs.5 crore.

The Exhibition Society, which conducts the annual event, has made it mandatory for all the participating stall owners to get their stalls and goods insured. These measures follows the fire accident in which many stalls were gutted last year.

The Exhibition Society is facilitating insurance coverage for the stall owners and the premium costs about Rs.400 for Rs.1 lakh worth goods. This is being done in the better interest of the stall owners, said Society Secretary B. Prabha Shankar, here on Sunday.

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Further, the Exhibition Society president and Health Minister E Rajender said advanced and comprehensive fire-fighting system was set up at a cost Rs.3 crore covering the sprawling venue.

Stall owners will also have to set up fire extinguishers at the stalls and the equipment are being arranged for them on rent for the 45-day event.

Experts have been roped in to ensure comprehensive fire-fighting system and all fool-proof arrangements are in place for the event. The number of stalls have been reduced to 1800 from last year’s 2300, to ensure more walking and open spaces at the grounds, Rajender said.

This year, six emergency exit gates are established in addition to the three entry-cum-exit gates. There are also six designated assembly points where visitors will be gathered in case of any eventuality and to ensure their safe exit. #KhabarLive