The month-long Ekushey book fair began on Bangla Academy and Suhrawardy Udyan premises on Thursday, with most of the stall owners still buys with decoration.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina opened the fair at 3:00pm on the academy premises. She also handed over ‘Bangla Academy Sahitya Puroshkar 2017’ among 12 recipients.
A huge crowd waiting at the main entrances — one at Teachers-Students Centre of Dhaka University and the other at Doyel Chattar — streamed into the fair premises after the PM left at 5:15pm.
Initially, security personnel were not seen scanning the visitors through the archways set at the entry points.
People were seen decorating many of stalls while stall attendants were putting
books on display. Decoration materials were seen littering the venue till 7:00pm.
Publishers said they failed to complete the decoration because of delay by the organiser in freeing the space from special security vigilance for PM’s visit.
Like previous year, the mainstream publishing houses have been given stalls at Suhrawardy Udyan while the stalls of government offices and social organisations are on the academy premises.
At least 70 out of 455 publishing houses could not open their stalls till 7:00pm.
Troyee Prakashan publisher Madhab Chandra Das complained that space for the book stalls were allocated in a haphazard way.
Prominent publishing houses got the better spaces where most of the visitors went, he alleged.
Publishing houses paid Tk 15,800 as rent for each unit.
Agamee Prokashani owner Osman Gani said the fair organisers ‘unnecessarily’ expanded the fair premises without proper planning.
Bangla Academy director and fair organising committee’s member secretary Jalal Ahmed on Tuesday told reporters that event management firm would build 24 permanent washrooms in Suhrawardy Udyan.
However, none of the washrooms was opened on the first day for the users as the construction work was not completed.
Mirajul Moin Joy, managing director of Nirapad Media and Communications, told New Age that construction work remained halted since Wednesday noon due to special security measures for the PM’s visit.
Jala Ahmed said that steps according to the book fair rules would be taken against those who would fail to complete decoration works by today.
On the first day, around 200 new titles came to the stalls.
The fair would remain open from 3:00pm to 9:00pm while on holidays between 11:00am and 9:00pm.
Today, two hours from 11:00am to 1:00pm would be dedicated for the children visiting the fair.
A discussion titled Shaheed Natunchandra Singha would also be held at Bangla Academy followed by a cultural programme in the afternoon.
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