Cheers to a new year. But for Hyderabadis there is a spoiler alert. They will be ushering in the new dawn sans the Numaish. The eagerly looked forward to trade fair is likely to take a bow this year. Thanks to the COVID pandemic, the 81st edition of the All India Industrial Exhibition is being deferred this time. As a measure of abundant caution, the Exhibition Society has decided against organising the trade carnival beginning January 1.
"The exhibition is only postponed and not cancelled. It may be held sometime during the year", said Minister for Medical and Health, Eatala Rajender, who is also the President of the Exhibition Society.
For the first time in 72 years the exhibition will not commence on January 1. In Hyderabad one can't think of the new year without the Numaish. The 46-day carnival has become an integral part of Hyderabad tradition. It is a record of sorts that the show is going on for the last 80 years without a pause. But this time round, there will be a break with the past.
Interestingly, this is not the first time that the Numaish is not commencing on January 1. Way back during 1948 and 1949 also it couldn't be organised in the wake of the partition of the country. On a few other occasions too the exhibition had a delayed start in view of the curfew in the city. The Exhibition Society is expected to review the Covid situation after January 31 and take a decision. "We might start the show in March or April", the Minister remarked.
As of now the Covid situation has improved in Telangana with the cases and the death rate declining. There is no second wave in the State. But still the government doesn't want to take any chances since around 45,000 persons visit the exhibition on an average every day. Moreover traders from different parts of the country put up their stalls and stay here for 46 days. "The Exhibition Society is not a commercial organisation. We have to look after the welfare of everyone", Mr. Rajender said.
As per the Government of India norms which are in force till January 31, more than 200 persons should not congregate at one place. With the exhibition attracting huge rush, visitors and stall keepers cannot be exposed to risk, feels Dr. B. Prabha Shankar, Honorary Secretary, Exhibition Society.
Besides being the cheapest entertainer, the annual exhibition also provides gainful employment to hundreds of persons every year. The proceeds of the Numaish come handy to finance and support 20 educational and voluntary institutions run by the Exhibition Society.
Started with just 50 stalls in 1938, the 'Numaish Masnuaat-e-Mulki' has grown beyond the wildest dreams of its founder, Mir Osman Ali Khan, the seventh Nizam. It has also grown in content and coverage to assume an all India stature. That it draws visitors by the thousands everyday despite the presence of so many shopping malls and multiplexes speaks of its popularity and durability.