—Igor Palka, Chief Operating Officer, MMI India Pvt Ltd
IFAT was launched in India in 2013. How was the response of the trade fair in the first two editions?
IFAT has steadily gathered momentum and demonstrated consistent growth over the last two years although the overall market conditions and economic conditions were not always the most conducive. However our customers trust the globally brand of IFAT well and that’s why we expect in the third edition to have more exhibitors and visitors than the previous events.
What new features can one expect in IFAT India 2015?
IFAT India 2015 has created a niche for itself as the only show in the subcontinent showcasing all aspects of environmental engineering, apart from water, thereby attracting an increased participation from global players, demonstrating the interest of foreign companies in the Indian market.
This year we have also included an Innovation Exchange Forum on the latest products and knowledge available to the Environment Industry within the Exhibition without additional charges. Here Industry experts and representatives will engage actively with the visitors on the most actual topics in the environmental industry, inclusive of representatives from the Ministries.
Subjects like sewage and waste recycling are rather uncommon for trade events in India. Were you apprehensive when you brought IFAT to India?
Clearly the issues plaguing India’s growth story in times to come, along with the government’s ambitious programs like Smart Cities, Clean India mission and housing for all by 2022, would be the environmental challenges that would supplement this development. Roadblocks to this fast-track growth would come in terms of waste water treatment, sewage disposal, recycling and disposal of refuse, all of which is being addressed at MMI India’s flagship event, IFAT India 2015—the Indian subsidiary of the world’s largest trade fair IFAT, which is happening every alternate year in Munich, Germany.
Tell us about the number of exhibitors and their broad distribution by type that you have signed up so far for IFAT 2015? How does this compare with IFAT 2014?
The so-far-applied 100 domestic and international exhibitors will be showing their solutions in the following segments: water extraction and treatment, water and sewage treatment, water distribution and sewers, refuse disposal and recycling, generating energy from waste materials and energy efficiency technologies.
Especially in terms of international participation we keep on increasing our number of participants.
Give us an idea of the extent of participation by international exhibitors in IFAT 2015.
So far we have a received record international participation covering more than 65 per cent of the total participation area. We are expecting to be welcome over 100 exhibitors from over 15 represented countries at the exhibition and in total, 7 joint pavilions.
What is the kind of footfall that you are expecting? What was it in 2014?
We had approximately 5,000 business visitors in the three days of exhibition in 2014. As we are expecting high-ranked visitors from the ministries, I believe that we will be able to achieve a higher visitor turnout than in the previous editions.
Would IFAT 2015 have concurrent conferences and seminars? What would be the subjects under discussion?
There will be a wide conference program included in the exhibition itself and without additional charges. Our partner associations and supporters will be conducting professional seminars and sessions on topics like waste to value seminar, industrial wastewater, measurement and control session, various skill development sessions, solid waste management seminar, interactions with universities and sessions on the right qualifications for India, and media award on the first day of the exhibition.
Mumbai has been the standard destination for IFAT. Are there special reasons for this venue selection?
We see Mumbai as a global hub for finance, trade and entertainment and along with the Maharashtra chief minister’s plans on how to fast-track the execution of major infrastructure projects, we believe that having an international trade fair on water, sewage, refuse and recycling is absolutely necessary.
Besides, the Ministry of Urban Development will support to develop Mumbai as a global hub and having said that the Maharashtra government should be focusing on drinking water, sanitation, solid waste management, etc, which are definitely areas which are being presented and discussed at IFAT India. Moreover, many industry players are located in or nearby Mumbai as well.
India is aspiring to build smart cities where water and waste management will be critical issues. How do you think IFAT India can help introduce innovative technologies to India?
IFAT India is the only environmental technology platform where international and domestic industry players will have the chance to present their newest innovations and product launches and meet the right audience group, respectively represents from the ministries, municipal authorities, jal (water) boards, pollution control boards, government agencies but of course also engineering companies, builders and contractors and investors.
Only if the hurdles are openly discussed and solutions showcased and provided, the right decisions can be taken for the future development of smart cities and all existing cities.
Are you expecting decision makers from government departments and municipal corporations to actively participate in IFAT India 2015? What would be IFAT India’s target audience?
IFAT India has been always visited by government officials and municipal corporations. We are definitely expecting representatives from the government departments and have also great support from the embassies to reach out to the respective people.
The target audience for IFAT India would generally be government officials from the ministries and control boards, government agencies like technocrats, advisors and policy makers, distributors and dealers, manufacturers and system integrators, builders, EPC contractors and architects, rating and funding agencies jal boards and of course municipal authorities.
Besides we are inviting decision makers from planning and engineering companies; research, education institutes and NGOs, experts, scientists, engineers related to the environmental protection sector and many utility heads and engineers from various industries. An important target group is also the energy supply and energy transport companies.
Discuss how IFAT India is helping build Indo-German bilateral relations.
I believe India is already for many years on the radar and in the focus of German companies and German investors, especially in the environmental technology sector as the potential and market size of India is out of question.
The response and growing numbers of participants coming to IFAT India definitely underlines this statement. However, the expectations of German companies still have to be met. With the right counterparts from India participating in the event and the right visitors who are keen to explore newest German technology and its possibilities of adapting to the Indian requirements, I am sure that the Indo-German bilateral relations will be strengthened even more and eventually German companies will “make in India” as well.