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Mini trade fair on sidelines of Ekushey book fair

Sardar Mahabbat Ali

A child carries books to a stall at Amar Ekushey Book Fair premises in Dhaka on Wednesday when he himself is deprived of his right to education. — New Age photoA child carries books to a stall at Amar Ekushey Book Fair premises in Dhaka on Wednesday when he himself is deprived of his right to education. — New Age photo

Numerous makeshift stalls of utensils, playthings and other daily necessaries have turned the road from Teacher-Student Centre to Curzon Hall area into a mini trade fair centring the month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair.
The same is seen along the entrance to the extended fair venue at Suhrawardy Udyan where the vendors of fast foods, drinks and ice-creams, showpieces, toys, plastic utensils, flowers, money-bags, shoes and clothes woo the visitors.
Moreover, several book sellers were found selling pirated books of Indian and other foreign writers on the footpath outside the fair ground.
Occupying the roads, they have been running their business in disarray in defiance of drives by the law enforcers.
Both booklovers and publishers have expressed annoyance at their presence as they think the vendors are creating nuisance in the area.
The wooing of the visitors by the vendors irritates the visitors.
‘This presence of the makeshift vendors is simply irritating as they undermine the dignity and solemnity of the book fair,’ said a private university student Ibrahim Khaled, coming with his friends.
A government employee Debasish Biswas said he had come to purchase books, not daily utensils. ‘The vendors insisting on buying their goods are boring,’ he said.
However, some visitors were found enjoying the environment and busy buying different things from the makeshift stalls on the streets.
Talking to New Age, some vendors said they, despite police drives against them, tried to sell their goods there as crowd was big around the book fair ground.
‘But we face obstacles in continuing with our business,’ said a sweetmeat seller in front of TSC. ‘We are badly in need of our business for our livelihood.’
Also the publishers said they faced problems due to the pirated and Indian books, including those of Samaresh Mujumder, Shunil Gangapadhay and others, sold openly even at 50 per cent discount.
The publishers in the meantime sent a complaint to the Bangla Academy, also the fair organiser on Tuesday in this regard. 
But the academy expressed their incapacity to stop this irritation.
When contacted, the fair organising committee member secretary Shahida Khatun said they were unable to control the vendors on the roads.
‘But we have requested the law enforcers to check their presence near the book fair,’ she said.
Today marking Phela Phalgoon, the first day of the Spring, the fair will open at 12:00pm instead of 3:30pm, said the member secretary.
A total of 88 titles hit the fair on the day. Collection of poetry with 23 books led the tally, followed by 17 novels and seven story books.
Also 28 books were unveiled at Nazrul Mancha.
A discussion on Mohammad Rowshan Ali Chowdhury was held in the afternoon where Israil Khan read out the keynote paper. Dr Moniruzzaman presided over the function.
Today the academy will hold a discussion on Kazi Imdadul Haque at the main stage of the fair. Rezina Sultana will read out the keynote paper while Syed Abul Maksud will chair the occasion. A cultural programme will follow.

A child carries books to a stall at Amar Ekushey Book Fair premises in Dhaka on Wednesday when he himself is deprived of his right to education. — New Age photo

A child carries books to a stall at Amar Ekushey Book Fair premises in Dhaka on Wednesday when he himself is deprived of his right to education. — New Age photo

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