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Amar Ekushey Book Fair takes off today..

The monthlong Ekushey Book Fair begins on Monday, hoping to see publication of about 4,000 new books.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the fair, said Shamsuzzaman Khan, the director general of Bangla Academy, the organiser of the yearly event, on Sunday.

The Academy has decided to introduce an award this year in remembrance of the pioneering contribution of the deceased publisher Chittaranjan Saha, who had played a crucial role in organising the fair decades back.

The Chittaranjan Saha Award will go to the best performing publisher through the fair period, the DG said at a press conference held to announce completion of all preparations for the event.

The fair authorities have allotted 505 stalls this year to 366 organisations, of which 100 will be sited on the avenue outside the academy.

The fair, marking the sacrifices of lives for Bangla language right in then Pakistan on Feb 21, 1952, will accommodate 26 little magazine stalls too, said Khan. Small organisations and individuals will be allowed to display their publications in the Jatiya Grantha Kendra stall.

He expressed the hope that this year the fair will see publications even in greater numbers.

"The fair saw over 3,000 new titles published in 2009, which may cross the 4,000 mark this year," said Khan.

On security aspects, he said, "We had meetings with various security agencies. They will ensure adopting all necessary measures. In addition, the academy will have its own security arrangements."

The Bangla Academy has raised a taskforce to keep the book fair free of piracy, according to Khan. The taskforce members will browse the fair stalls regularly to detect any pirated or illegal publication and take necessary steps against the offenders.

The fair expanse this year has been segmented into nine sections to be named after the language martyrs, authors, poets and intellectuals.

Like other years, unveiling of the new book covers will take place on the Nazrul Mancha. Seminars under the banner 'Bhasha Andolaner Itihash Katha: 1947-1953' ( The history of Language Movement: 1947-1953) will be held on the main stage every afternoon beginning Feb 1 through Feb 27.

Cultural performances will fill out the evenings through the month.

The two entrances beside the Nutrition Institute of Dhaka University and the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission will serve as access points to the fair. The fair timings will be 3-9pm on all workdays, 11am-9pm on holidays and 8am-10pm on Feb 21.

Chittaranjan Saha, the proprietor of two ages-old publication houses Muktadhara and Punthighar, had for the first time initiated the display and sales of books after the emergence of independent Bangladesh at various events organised by the Bangla Academy. Later, many more joined in and strengthened his efforts.

The academy eventually took charge of organising the book fair, which is now regarded as a part of our national heritage and cultural expression.


Book stalls are still being set up at the book fair on the evening before it is set to begin.

Participants were, however, confident that necessary installation and decoration would be completed before the fair began.

Faruk Ahmed, manager of Mizan Publishers which has a stall inside the fair, said they would be done by morning.

Eight persons have been working for the last four days, he told bdnews24.com on Sunday.

The decoration is costing about Tk 70,000, he said.

Stall owners are using clothes, wood, cork-sheet, mount boards and ply-wood in their stalls.

Officials of Tabligi Kutubkhkana, situated outside the fair grounds, were in a hurry to be done in time.

They were spending around Tk 10,000 for decorations using cheap wood and clothes, said Morshed Hassan the manager.

Only a few stalls had completed their preparations with many others, especially those in the outer rim with their bare wooden frames.

Two temporary shops were selling necessary items for construction of the stalls, including, nails, paints, adhesives and even electric switches and bulbs.

Gardeners were also working on flower-beds inside the fair.


Organisers this year have extended the canteen premises, which appears to be perpetually short of space to accommodate patrons.

Aftab Ahmed Badal, owner of the canteen, said, "We'll sell fast food, drinks, juice, Chinese and Bengali items at affordable prices.

"To handle the rush, the authorities have provided us with an extended space where some 40 people can be served at a time," he said speaking to bdnews24.com.

Outside the fair, similar to previous years, small tea stalls will also be operating.

Alam has been operated a small tea stall for years at Shibbari Teachers' Quarters. He said he would sell snacks besides the regular fare during the book fair.

Aminul Islam also plans to sell biscuits and cakes beside the tea he carries in the large thermos.

"It depends on the security guards. I'll try to sit on the footpath or inside the Ramna Park," he said.

>>Source: bdnews24.com


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