Preparations for Amar Ekushey Book Fair are in full swing on Bangla Academy premises and nearby Suhrawardy Udyan.
The book fair, which usually starts on the first day of February 1, will begin on March 18 this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the book fair at 4:00pm on the day through video conferencing.
While visiting the fair venue on Friday, this correspondent saw that workers were busy setting up and decorating stalls and pavilions.
“Work is going on. The publisher has directed us to complete the work as soon as possible. Hope, we’ll be able to complete it before the inauguration,” said a worker.
This year, the academy has set the theme of the fair as “Birth Centenary of Bangabandhu and Golden Jubilee of Independence”.
Considering the pandemic situation, there will be hand sanitisers at every entry gate and everyone must wear face mask and follow hygiene rules.
According to Bangla Academy authorities, a total of 522 publication houses will take part in the fair. Besides, there will be 1,817 units and 33 pavilions. The Little Magazine Chattar will be set up at Suhrawardy Udyan.The distance between the rows of the stalls has been increased. Besides, a new gate will be opened in front of the Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB) to enter the fair premises at Suhrawardy Udyan.
This year, the land of the venue has been expanded to around 15,00,000 square feet against 7,50,000 square feet of the previous year.
As rain may occur during the book fair this time, measures have been taken keeping it in mind, said Dr Jalal Ahmed, Bangla Academy director and member secretary of the fair organising committee.
Meanwhile, construction work of metro rail project is underway from Shahbagh to Doel Chattar point. Jalal Ahmed also said that the road will be cleared before the fair so that visitors do not face any problem and the construction work will remain suspended during the fair.
There will be strict security measures to avoid any untoward incident on the venue. Publishers from across the country will come to the fair with a wide variety of books.
The fair will remain open from 3:00pm to 9:00pm every day and from 11:00am to 9:00pm on holidays. The fair will continue till April 14.