JAIPUR, INDIA -- India StoneMart 2003, which was organized by CDOS & CII from January 31 to February 4, was a success, according to show organizers.

A total of 260 exhibitors from India and foreign countries displayed their products. While the Indian exhibitors were predominantly from north India and dealt in stones, machines, tools and stone art, the representation of the granite industry from south India was comparatively negligible.

India StoneMart 2003 started on a promising note. Chief Minister of Rajasthan, Ashok Gehlot, inaugurated the event and called on the stone industry to develop healthy business relations with the international market. As a result, unknown stones gained international exposure, such as green marble, Wonder marble, Katni marble and onyx.

A significant topic at StoneMart was the threat posed by China to the Indian stone industry. While some viewed it as a threat, local stone industry representatives explored possibilities of arrangements that would benefit companies from both countries. The Chinese were present in good strength at the exposition to sell their stone cutting tools as well as to explore possibilities of joint ventures.

Conferences, held simultaneously to the show, had experts discuss new directives and suggestions. Noted expert of stones, K.Vikram of Stone Technology Centre, remarked that efforts should be made to identify new stones and products for different applications. He stressed the need to form various expert groups to reduce the cost of production and boost exports. He also suggested that with the help of various expert groups, India could compete in the global market very effectively.

Additionally, a host of architects came together to discuss the usage of stone in contemporary architecture. In meetings on the first day of the session, the architects explored the application of stone in various fields of architecture. During the second-day session, the architects highlighted the usage of stone through the presentation of numerous case studies on projects, where stone has been extensively used.

Apart from varieties of stones and machines, StoneMart displayed the talent of stone craftsmen. Artisans from different parts of the country gathered at Artisan Pavilion (Shilpgram). Shilpgram, promoted by UNIDO and SSI, Government of India, was an attempt to bring the leading artisans of India in direct contact with customers from India and abroad. Sandstone Artisans Association (SAA) also took part in this mega event for the first time. They acquired not only knowledge about the latest technology, but also interacted with international buyers. At Shilpgram, SAA sold products and received over 100 enquires, including 20 foreign.

Industry Ministry, Government of Rajasthan, Dr. Chandrabhan presented awards for best booths in different categories. The foreign exhibitor's first prize was awarded to the Chinese Pavilion, while a special prize for foreign exhibitors was awarded to Marmor Lazarides Sa Drama of Greece.