Ekushey book fair starts off on bad noteSardar Mahabbat Ali
Amar Ekushey Book Fair, this time expanded into Suhrawardy Udyan, started off on a bad note at the Bangla Academy on Saturday, with organisers failing in management and many publishing houses yet to have books on display for sales.
Low vigilance, poor deployment of security personnel and mismanagement marked the first day of the fair, which will run throughout February. The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, inaugurated the fair in the afternoon.
About 50 publishing houses, and government and autonomous institutions, on the other hand, were yet to complete stall decorations as they banked on sponsors who left the job half-done when the authorities stopped such houses advertising sponsors on their stall signs.
The fair this year features 232 publishing houses in Suhrawardy Udyan, 24 houses involved in the publication of children and juvenile literature and 43 others on the academy premises. There is a little magazine corner housing 55 publications inside the academy.
Fair rules stipulates that the publishing houses will have their stalls readied by 12:30pm on Friday and failing this, another rules will apply, leading to the cancellation of the stall allotment.
Bangla Academy officials said that they had worked on stall decoration till early Saturday.
Publishing houses such as Bijoy Prakash, Murdhanya, Rangin Phool, Tamralipi, Oikya Prakash, Ma Prakashani, Suchipatra and the National Museum were still erecting structures in the evening, with decoration materials piled up in front, hindering movement of visitors.
There were people hawking tea, betel leaf, cigarettes, flowers and snacks in the fair ground in Suhrawardy Udyan.
No security archways could be set up on the first day and vehicles were allowed to pass by the road passing between the academy and the park.
Publishers put down the delay in stall decoration to the academy authorities which failed to allot the stalls in time.
‘We need more time to ready our stalls,’ said Bijoy Prokash proprietor Tapan Mahmud. ‘Security arrangement for the inauguration ceremony also hampered our job.’
Suchipatra proprietor Saeed Bari said that about 50 stalls had banked on the sponsorship of the Pran-RFL Group for stall decoration. ‘The sponsor left the work half-done when the organisers opposed their efforts to advertise products on stall signs.’
The academy’s director general Shamsuzzaman Khan on Saturday said, ‘There was lack of preparations on part of the participants. But the inauguraal ceremony was praiseworthy.’
He, however, hoped that the fair would be in its full shape ‘from Sunday or in two to three days.’
The organisers, however, failed to provide any list of the day’s arrivals as the information centre was yet to be set up. No book was launched on the day.
The fair will feature a seminar on Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin on the main stage. Artist Qayyum Chowdhury is scheduled to preside over the programme. Abul Hasnat will read out the keynote paper.
A cultural programme will follow.
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