Ekushey Book Fair kicks off

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Amar Ekushey Book Fair 2015 began on Bangla Academy promises and at Suhrawardy Udyan on Sunday, with many stalls remaining closed, lax security, few visitors and dust drifting in the air.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the fair along with International Literary Conference celebrating the 60th anniversary of Bangla Academy. She also handed over Bangla Academy Literary Award 2014.
Presence of visitors was thin on the opening day, for which publishers blamed the 72-hour shutdown in addition to the ongoing blockade enforced
by the BNP-led alliance.
As soon as the prime minister left the academy premises, visitors were seen entering the book fair venues without any frisking and without going through security checking.
No security archway was set up at the entry points although the fair committee said archways would be set up at the entrances to ensure security for the fair.
Fair security control room in-charge police subinspector Anowarul Islam told New Age that they were yet to deploy enough forces as the first day’s security was ensured by the special security force deployed for the prime minister.
Many of the stalls were found closed or their decoration was not completed on the opening day — a violation of the fair committee guidelines.
The people working at the stalls said they got the allotment only a few days ago, so they could not complete the construction work.
At least 50 publishing houses including government and autonomous institutions such as National Museum, Bangladesh Shishu Academy and Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy did not open their stalls till 6:30pm.
Publishers claimed that the fair authorities were yet to complete giving electricity connections to the stalls and other important places.
Mazharul Islam, owner of Anya Prakash, said they were hoping that political parties should not give any programme that would affect book fair.
The fair organisers failed to provide any list of the day’s arrivals as the information centre was yet to be set up.
A fair committee member, Murshid Anwar, said, ‘Usually, there remains some violations of the fair guidelines on the first day and things will be alright in the coming days.’
He also said they would start setting up the archways from today.
This year the fair has 565 stalls of 351 publication houses and socio-cultural organisations and of them 11 got pavilions.
The fair also features separate little magazine and children corners while new books will be launched at Nazrul Mancha.
Latest books by Bangla Academy will be sold at 30 per cent commission and those published before 2000 at 70 per cent. Other publishers will sell their books at 25 per cent commission.
The academy is planning to bring out 100 new books this year. Last year, different publishers brought out a total of 2,959 new books and the sales amounted to around Tk 16 crore.
The fair remains open to all between 3:00pm and 9:00pm on weekdays and between 11:00am and 9:00pm on the weekend with a two-hour break from noon.
On International Mother Language Day on February 21, the fair will open at 8:00am and continue till 10:00pm without any break.
Today, on the second day of International Literary Conference, the academy will organise a five-session discussion.
Apart from Chittaranjan Saha Smrity Puraskar and Munier Chowdhury Smrity Puraskar for the best publisher and the three best books, Rokonuzzaman Khan Dadabhai Smrity Puraskar and Qayyum Chowdhury Smrity Purashkar will be given for the best children’s book and the best stall decoration this year.
Source: New Age

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