India International Jewellery Show- IIJS organised by GJEPC India held at Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre from 9th-13th August, 2018 was a Mega Event showcasing the best jewellery collections by the country’s leading manufacturers. Spread with about 2300+ exhibitors with 50 International companies, the focus was on product – jewellery of the highest standards of design, craftsmanship and finish. An event of such a large scale involving a direct contact with a large number of people requires a great management plan and cooperation between all parties involved.
After the tent collapse accident at Midnapore which injured 90 people, it was expected that a careful approach towards human lives at such gatherings will be adopted. However, just a month later we come across the news of the collapse of a mezzanine stall of RBZ at IIJS 2018. While most of the people escaped the stall in time, two people were severely injured. One of the iron rods went straight into someone’s leg during the accident. The contract of the stall had been given to an agency from Ahmedabad which is owned by Adi Parekh. Talking to Exhibition Showcase, Adi Parekh said, “The budget for the stall project had been finalised at INR 6 lakhs and the material used for the stall was of great quality.” He added “There were two reasons behind this collapse. One, that the local vendor, that was employed in Mumbai, namely Rehman, did not complete his work properly. He stopped picking up my calls two days before the exhibition had even started. And two, there was a missing structural part in the design which was to be added. However, the organisers did not permit its addition later which added to the design flaws of the structure.”
Adi mentioned that as soon as
he got a call from the organisers regarding the collapse, he rushed to the venue.
He accepted that as the company that was hired for the job, he was to be blamed for the accident. “I had been wrong in choosing Rehman as the vendor.” At the venue he was unable to meet the organisers and was told “that meeti
ng wouldn’t do any good now, since the collapse had already taken place.” We question, is Adi the only party that needs to be blamed? While Rehman, the vendor, is already working on another project at Big7 India. Why wasn’t strict action taken against Rehman? Why is the matter being closed off without the necessary action and discussion, to ensure that in future such accidents do not occur?
Shailesh Sangani, GJEPC was contacted to get these answers and to understand the safety measures that are adhered to at GJEPC’s shows. However, we did not receive a response on this particular matter. Neither has the vendor Rehman, taken accountability of his actions. Structure Engineer at the IIJS venue had brought forward the need of a missing structural part in design, but the organisers forbade it when people from RBZ asked for permission. The organiser’s team is unsure about who denied the permission for such an important task. The management at the organizer’s team and at the company level also comes under question. Were there too many people at the stall at a point of time that it became unstable? Why wasn’t the number of people regulated? Why was the stall allowed to be set up by the organisers, after the structure engineer became aware of the design flaw?
Just a few days after the RBZ stall fall, it was heard that another stall had collapsed at IIJS. Such accidents are taking place because no one is being held accountable for their mistakes and the matter is being subdued at different levels. It is important that the agencies like Adi Parekh’s must appoint vendors after
diligence about their work history and ethics. A sub-vendor like Rehman who work on the carpenter level, must be adhere to standard operating procedures and have a list of safety guidelines that are screened before final installation. And lastly, there lies a need for the Exhibition Organisers to impart proper training and be more receptive to tackle last minute crisis situations effectively. Enough authority must be delegated to structure engineers, so that they may prevent setting up of stalls unless they are approved as per the guidelines.
Exhibition Showcase talked about the need to focus on the basics in its last edition. It is high time that all the parties involved in the industry, take the matter seriously. RBZ has been working with Adi for many exhibitions and even hired him for another exhibition right after the collapse at IIJS. This clearly shows that the company puts faith in the work that he does. Adi Parekh said, “The same design for mezzanine stall had previously been used in an exhibition and had not led to any accidents. Probably, luck wasn’t on our side this time.”
Whether it’s the cost benefit that this company gets through Adi or his effectiveness in the work that wins him the repeated business, is not clear, afterall!