Amar Ekushey Book Fair saw crowds of book-lovers on the fourth day on Sunday, the first weekday of the month-long festival of books.
Publishers described the presence of visitors as ‘quite unusual’ for a weekday during the initial stage of the annual fair.
Visitors, mostly youngsters, started crowding on both the Bangla Academy and Suhrawardy Udyan premises since the opening of doors at 3:00pm, according to bookstall attendants.
They, however, lamented that book sales were still meagre as visitors were mostly flipped books and collecting catalogues from stalls.
To assist visitors with much-needed services, some government agencies and private organisations have extended health services on the venue.
As elderly people and physically-challenged persons often find it difficult to roam around the fair premises on foot, SWITCH Bangladesh with support from Bangla Academy and CSF Global, has made 10 wheel-chairs available at two entrances to the fair.
Chief coordinator of the initiative Md Bayezid told New Age that eight more wheel-chairs were also arranged for physically-challenged children.
The helpline to avail this service is 01929602265, he said.
Besides, BRB Hospitals Limited has set up a makeshift medical centre on the academy premises to provide first aid and free medicine for visitors suffering from diabetes, high and low blood pressure and dehydration.
Md Saiful Islam, business development executive of the private hospital chain, said that visitors suffering from any kind of sickness could avail free consultant’s advice and medical treatment from the centre.
Visitors in need of emergency medical help could avail the service by ringing 01709635863.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police and Police Blood Bank jointly set up a blood donation camp on the Suhrawardy Udyan premises.
PBB member constable Md Anisur Rahman said that around 50 people donated their blood since the start of the fair.
‘We try to collect blood from visitors according to requirement of patients admitted to nearby hospitals,’ he added.
The PBB helpline number is 01713398386.
Transfusion department of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University has also set up a blood grouping and blood bank on the Suhrawary Udyan premises.
Medical technologist of the department SM Shamim Ahsan said that the service was totally free of cost.
On Sunday, 111 books hit the stalls with 26 collections of poems leading the tally, followed by 19 books of novel, nine books of short stories.
DMP commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia paid a visit to the fair premises in the afternoon.
Bangla Academy held a discussion on Liberation War martyr Ranadaprashad Saha. Pratibha Mutsuddi presented the keynote in the discussion chaired by Rafiqul Islam.
Today, the academy will hold a discussion commemorating language veteran AJM Taqiullah.
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