Festival of India Expo to re-open

By Sandhya Santoo

The Festival of India Expo will be re-opening at the Divali Nagar site in Chaguanas, nine days after arsonists destroyed merchants’ businesses.

This was confirmed yesterday by Amit Alagh, spokesman  for the Indian merchants who operate stalls at the expo.

He said the merchants had struggled to raise funds to secure another shipment of products for sale for this year’s Indian Arrival Day celebrations. The expo will re-open today inside the air-conditioned building. 

Alagh said the 40 merchants will not be driven out and that the items on sale will be at a discounted price to attract more customers. 

One hundred and fifty workers who were on the breadline for the past  week have now been re-employed by the merchants. 

On the morning of April 23, fire destroyed the uninsured leased space at the Nagar site, sending millions of dollars in clothing, furniture and jewelry up in smoke.

Alagh said he was grateful no one was injured and thanked the Mayor of Chaguanas Gopaul Boodhan and the National Council of Indian Culture (NCIC) for their assistance.

Deokinanan Sharma, president of the NCIC, said the merchants will be given another space rent-free for two months to “get back on their feet”.

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