Dhaka, Feb 14: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the traditional Amar Ekushey Book Fair-2022 on Bangla Academy and Suhrawardy Udyan premises virtually from her official Ganabhaban residence tomorrow.
“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to open the book fair tomorrow at 3pm virtually from her official Ganabhaban residence,” State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid told a press conference at Bangla Academy today.
Besides, the premier will also hand over the prizes among the recipients of Bangla Academy Literary Award-2021.
Bangla Academy President writer Selina Hossain will preside over the inaugural function while Bangla Academy director general poet Mohammad Nurul Huda will deliver the welcome speech.
President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in separate messages wished success of the ‘Amar Ekushey Book Fair 2022’ and greeted all, including Bangla Academy and local and foreign publishers, involved in arranging the ‘Amar Ekushey Book Fair’.
This year the Amar Ekushey Book Fair, also known as a place of reunion of the writers-readers-publishers, which usually begins on the first day of February, will be held from February 15 to 28 due to Covid-19 situation, said KM Khalid.
However, there is possibility of extending the duration if the Covid-19 situation improves, he said, adding, “The ministry is awaiting the prime minister’s instruction on the matter as the rate of infections is coming down.”
“There was uncertainty regarding organizing the book fair this year due to the pandemic. But the prime minister gave the green signal about holding the fair. The duration of the fair that is generally held from February 1 to 28 has been reduced to two weeks from Feb 15-28,” he said.
Birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and golden jubilee of independence has been set up as the main theme of Amar Ekushey Book Fair-2022.
The birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence, the 70 years of the 1952 Language Movement and the 50th anniversary of drafting the country’s first Constitution will be commemorated in the event.
“The construction of the stalls and pavilions at Bangla Academy and Suhrawardy Udyan premises will be completed by today, said Bangla Academy director general poet Mohammad Nurul Huda, adding, “We hope that publishers will be able to put books on sale at their stalls from tomorrow.”
The book fair will remain open for all from 2 pm to 9 pm on working days and 11:00 am to 9 pm on public holidays with a one-hour break for lunch and offering prayers, said Dr Jalal Ahmed, director of Bangla Academy and member secretary of Ekushey Book Fair Committee.
A total of 776 stalls have been allocated to 534 organizations. The authorities have allotted 142 stalls to 102 organizations for the Bangla Academy ground and 634 stalls to 432 organizations for the Suhrawardy Udyan.
Last year, a total of 834 stalls were allocated in favour of 540 organizations.
Moreover, a total of 35 pavilions have been allocated this year. Apart from this, there will be 127 stalls at Little Magazine Chattar, which was 140 in 2021, 155 in 2020.
The visitors have to strictly maintain the health guidelines on the fair premises while there will be arrangement for temperature test, hand washing and sanitizing at all entry points, Jalal said, adding, “None will be allowed inside the fairground without face mask and sanitizing hands.”
There will be strict security arrangements in and around the book fair venue to avert any unpleasant incident and every nook and cranny of the 1.5 million square feet space of the fair venue will be under CCTV camera coverage, said Jalal.
The law enforcers will be deployed in a large number to ensure foolproof security in the fair, he added.
A mancha (stage) for holding publication ceremonies and programmes on unveiling covers of the books has been set up at Suhrawardy Udyan, while discussions and seminars will be held every day at the main mancha installed on the Bangla Academy premises.
A separate gate will be set up for the entry of writers, litterateurs, poets and senior personalities, including civil society members and dignitaries.
Besides, there will be two gates for entry and exit of the Bangla Academy premises while Suhrawardy Udyan will have four entry gates and three exit gates.