Chattogram Book Fair's venue has changed, area and publications have decreased
Amar Ekushe Book Fair started in Chattogram on Friday afternoon. Since 2021, the Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) has been organizing this book fair at the city's gymnasium ground. Since then every time before the fair a book fair is organized on the ground subject to the permission of the district administration. Something different happened this year. The organizers did not get the gymnasium field despite bargaining. So the fair is held at the railway station CRB headroom. The Chattogram Book Fair is being held in a new field. Compared to the previous year, the area of the fairground has decreased along with the number of publications.
Instead of the 1 lakh 2 thousand 300 square feet field of the gymnasium, this time the fair is being held in the 43 thousand square feet field. At the same time, 92 publishing houses of Dhaka-Chattogram have participated in the fair, 16 publications less than last time. 15 more stalls have been allotted than the last time, even though the area of the field has decreased.
The book fair can be visited on Friday; the CRB has a big stage for the event just on the south side of the CRB where various events will be held around the fair every day. Just west of it is the kids zone for children where children's toys with different types of toys are kept. Special arrangements have been made on the top floor for the unveiling of new books. Selfie zone and Bangabandhu corner have been set up for the visitors coming to the fair. Besides, there are six separate food stalls in the fair.
Meanwhile, as the first day was a holiday, the number of visitors to the fair was high. A large part of them were busy taking pictures of stalls, books and nature.
The stall did not open even on the first day:
Even on the first day of the fair, several stalls of various publications can be seen working in the crowd. From these stalls, many come back to buy the books of their favorite authors. While the publishers blamed the delay in getting stalls from the organizers of the fair, several others reported their failure.
Aksharbritto Prakashani could not finish the work of the stall decorator even though the evening had passed. One of their representatives said, "We haven't been able to build a stall yet, it's our failure".
Due to the delay in getting the stalls from the organizers, other types of publications could not finish making the stalls. A representative named Imran Khan, who is in charge of setting up their stall, told Barta24.com, "We are late for those who conduct the fair. They explained the stall lottery two days before the start of the fair. It takes at least 4 days to prepare a stall. Now many readers come and go to the fair. We are also saddened not to be able to give them books. I hope the organizers will take care of this from the front.
What publishing experts are saying about field change?
After several years of book fairs in the gymnasium, this time it is being held at the CRB. Publishers fear that this may affect the fair and book sales. Many people expressed their anger about the change of field and said that they want a permanent field. However, the organizers hope that the fair will accumulate in CRB, which is one of the cultural areas of Chattogram.
Chowdhury Fahad, the proprietor of Chandrabindu Publications, which participated in the fair, told Barta24.com, "We have seen that after participating in the Dhaka Book Fair for a long time, no one needs to know where to go for the book fair in February." It is known to everyone that Book Fair means Bangla Academy and Suhrawardy Udyan. And in the case of Chattogram, the matter is being transferred every few years. It is sad for us. We cannot stay in a certain place in the city. For the past four years, the fair was being held in the gymnasium grounds, it became known to the people. But this time it was brought to CRB. It is also a crowded place. People come to visit in the afternoon. However, we are not sure that will be here in the future. Our demand is that a permanent ground should be made for the book fair.'
Rehena Chowdhury, Senior Vice-President of the Publication Council told Barta24.com, "We have been going around for a long time about this book fair. I am introducing readers to different places at different times. As the new place will be a little problem. It will also affect the readers or buyers. Moreover, it is a smaller field than a gymnasium. I hope this fair will be more popular through social media and media promotion.
Regarding the permanent ground of the fair, Deputy Commissioner Abul Basar Mohammad Fakhruzzaman said, "If the city corporation chooses a place under the envelope of the district administration. There we can arrange for all kinds of fairs including book fairs on a permanent basis.
Regarding the security of the fair, Chattogram Metropolitan Police (CMP) Commissioner Krishna Pad Roy said, 'CRB needs some extra security here. If the organizers of the fair cooperate with us with some logistical support, then we can arrange that too.
The Mayor of Chattogram City Corporation (CCC) told Barta24.com, "The City Corporation has no place of its own where people will gather." It is not like having a book fair there, even if you do, it will not be crowded. So this time we got a CRB place through the railway instead of getting a place in the gymnasium. So, thanks to Railways. Poets will write poems, readers-writers will chat about the natural beauty of CRB. A different atmosphere will be created here. We hope that the book fair will gather at CRB. We will try to hold a book fair here in the future as well.'
Organized by CCC, this book fair is being held with the cooperation of Chattogram Srijoshil Publishers Council, Chattogram Citizens Society, Bir Muktijoddha, Writers, Journalists, Educationists and Literary-Cultural Organizations. This year's book fair budget is Tk. 50 lakh. Again this time National Ekushe Sammanna Smarak Padak and Sahitya Award will be given for meritorious contribution in life.
Rabindra Utsav, Nazrul Utsav, Folk Utsav, Mirmi Utsav, Spring Utsav, Youth Festival, Ethnic Utsav, Children's Utsav, Writers' Gathering, Youth Utsav, Women's Utsav, Chatgaon Utsav, Liberation War Utsav, Professional Gathering, Poetry Recitation and Rhymes will be held during the 23 days of the fair. Festivals, short films and photo exhibitions, quiz competitions, painting and cultural competitions, felicitations, awards and literary awards.
The book fair will continue till March 2 from 3 pm to 9 pm every day and on holidays from 10 am to 9 pm.