Hyderabad’s Numaish exhibition indefinitely suspended due to rising COVID-19 cases

A day after the exhibition was opened to the public, it was suspended till January 10 amid increasing cases.
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The All India Industrial Exhibition Society, commonly known as Numaish and held at Hyderabad’s Nampally Exhibition Grounds, has been suspended indefinitely. This comes amidst the spread of the Omicron variant and the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases. The 45-day annual exhibition was inaugurated on January 1. However, a day after the exhibition was opened to the public, it was suspended till January 10 amid increasing cases. If the situation gets better, it will be opened again, said the organisers. 

Aditya Margam, the secretary of the Numaish Exhibition Society, told TNM that they received a memo from the Hyderabad Commissioner on the morning of January 6, ordering a complete shutdown of the exhibition. “Earlier, we were hoping to get permission to run the exhibition at least during the day. Neither the stallholders were interested nor the government was convinced that this can be a safe proposition. After all the efforts, we had to decide to shut down the exhibition,” he said. 

He added, for now, the stalls that have been erected will be kept up, and they are hoping the situation at least changes in the next 40 days. “The exhibition is a 45-day affair, so we are keeping our optimism alive,” he said, adding that they can restart the exhibition with a 48-hour notice. 

However, since the exhibition is already up and running and stallowners come from various parts of the country, both Numaish Exhibition Society and stallowners are likely to incur losses. 

“The loss cannot be pegged as it will be purely speculative. From our side, we are refunding the stall rents that have been paid. A few have opted not to take back the money, hoping the exhibition will take place later,” Aditya said.  

“This decision has been taken in the larger interest of safety and health of the society at large. This is definitely a loss; we have put in Rs 3-4 crore as the initial setup cost. This is the sunk cost, which can be recovered only if the exhibition runs. We are still keeping ourselves in a state of readiness,” he added.

The Numaish Exhibition Society has been organising the fair for 80 years. In 2021, the exhibition had been cancelled due to the pandemic. The latest edition was the second time in its history that it could not be held. The fair had been abruptly suspended earlier this week, when hundreds of visitors were at the fair. Officials stopped the ticket bookings and ordered all those who were in Exhibition Grounds to leave immediately.

About 10,000 people visited the exhibition from the afternoon of January 2 till night when authorities ordered the Society to close it.

The action was taken in view of the state government extending restrictions to check the spread of COVID-19 till January 10. The government has prohibited rallies, public meetings and mass gatherings of all types, including religious, political and cultural.

The Society had put in place various measures to adhere to COVID-19 safety rules like compulsory wearing of masks, maintaining physical distance, and vaccination of all stall owners.

The organisers had allotted 1,600 stalls to traders and various business organisations from different parts of the country to sell their products at the fair.

Numaish-e-Masnuaat-e-Mulki, or Numaish in short, made a humble beginning in 1938 as an event to promote locally produced goods. The fair begins on January 1 every year and continues for 45 days. Traders from various parts of the country set up their stalls during the exhibition, which is visited by 45,000 people every day. Over 20 lakh visitors had visited the exhibition in 2019.

With inputs from IANS

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