Ekushey Boi Mela
As the Ekushey Boi Mela (Book Fair) 2024 crossed its seventh day yesterday, publishers and book sellers are hopeful for increased sales and public engagement, despite not yet reaching their anticipated sales targets. The Dhaka Metro Rail has infused the fair with a new vibrancy, making it more accessible for visitors from distant areas like Uttara, Mirpur, and Motijheel. Ovi Islam, from Farmgate, shared his positive experience of using the metro rail to bypass traffic jams, despite the initial long wait for tickets. Go for digital book publication to globally promote Bengali literature:PM Hasina tells publishers at Ekushey Book Fair Although some visitors, like Ovi who visited the fair three times without purchasing books, contribute to the growing foot traffic, the overall sales have yet to see a significant boost. Another group of visitors from Uttara noted the ease of accessing the fair this year, thanks to the metro rail, which has offered a way to avoid the infamous Dhaka traffic congestion. Book sellers expressed mixed feelings about the fair's progress. While visitor numbers are on the rise, actual book purchases remain lower than expected. Nur Hossen Sarkar from Anupam Prokashoni observed that many attendees are more interested in browsing than buying. Similarly, Mohammad Jabed from Mowla Brothers noted a slight decrease in sales compared to the initial days but remains hopeful for an uptick in activity. PM opens Ekushey book fair Some exhibitors have faced challenges with their stall placements, leading to visibility and accessibility issues. Sumon Saj from Nongor Publication voiced concerns about being allocated a less favorable location and has reported the issue to Bangla Academy without seeing significant action. Some publishers also expressed dissatisfaction about the overall arrangement and environment. These issues suggest that while the metro rail has made the fair more accessible, improvements are still needed in its organization and visitor experience. With the fair still underway, publishers and sellers are optimistic about a surge in sales and visitor numbers, especially with the upcoming weekend. Tracing the Roots of Ekushey Boi Mela
In anticipation of the Amar Ekushey Grantha Mela (book fair) 2024, the Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has announced extensive security measures to tackle potential sabotage acts and militant threats. The security plan, detailed by DMP Commissioner Habibur Rahman, aims to ensure a safe environment for the attendees of Bangladesh’s largest book fair, set to open on February 1. Commissioner Rahman, after inspecting the security protocols, stated, “We have put in place a robust security framework to enable visitors to explore and enjoy the fair without any apprehension.” These remarks were made during his visit to the book fair’s location in Dhaka’s Suhrawardy Udyan on Wednesday. Books worth Tk47 crore sold in Amar Ekushey Book Fair in 27 days Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is slated to inaugurate the month-long cultural event at 3 pm on February 1. In a first for the fair, attendees can now enter and exit through five designated gates at Suhrawardy Udyan, including a special entrance via the Engineering Institute. Each entry point will be equipped with archways and metal detectors to enhance safety. The DMP Commissioner outlined the comprehensive security measures, including the establishment of internal and external security perimeters and continuous surveillance by undercover detectives. Additionally, numerous watch towers have been erected to oversee and prevent any unforeseen incidents. Further bolstering the security, the entire fair area is under continuous CCTV monitoring, connected to a dedicated control room. The DMP has arranged various patrolling units, including foot, street, and cyber patrols, around the fair vicinity. The presence of the dog squad, SWAT team, and bomb disposal unit will provide an immediate response capability. Kid’s zone of Ekushey Book Fair abuzz with little book lovers In addition to these security provisions, the DMP has taken measures to cater to the comfort and well-being of the visitors. These include a lost and found center for missing children, a nursing center for mothers, blood donation facilities, and access to pure drinking water throughout the fair premises. The security plan was detailed in the presence of senior DMP officials, emphasizing the significance and scale of the protective measures for this cultural cornerstone event. Read more: Tracing the Roots of Ekushey Boi Mela
Banned militant organization Ansar Al Islam have purportedly sent a letter to Bangla Academy Director General Md Nurul Huda threatening to bomb the Amar Ekushey book fair 2023. In this regard Bangla Academy DG Nurul Huda filed a general diary filed in Shahbag police station on behalf of Bangla Academy. Read more: Anti-Terrorism Unit arrest death-row convict in Madaripur The letter was sent to the office of Bangla Academy by post around 11:30 am on Thursday. Later Bangla Academy Security Officer Md. GD Jahangir Alam took it to the police station. When asked about the matter, Officer-in-Charge (OC) of Shahbag Police Station Noor Mohammad said, "The banned militant organization Ansar Al Islam has written to the Director General of Bangla Academy saying that anti-social activities are going on in two hotels of the capital. If those activities are not stopped, they said they will bomb Amar Ekushey Book Fair." "Bangla Academy authorities have made a GD in this incident. We have started a preliminary investigation," he added. Read more: Tracing the Roots of Ekushey Boi Mela Director General of Bangla Academy Nurul Huda said he learned of the incident, but he was outside the office at the time. "We have filed a GD at Shahbag police station," he added. KM Mujahidul Islam, Member-Secretary of the Amar Ekushey Book Fair Management Committee, said,"The letter was sent by post at around 11:30 am. We have forwarded the letter to the police station They will look into it."
The Appellate Division of the Supreme Court today stayed the High Court order that had asked the authorities concerned to give stall allotment to Adarsha Prokashoni to participate in the month-long Ekushey Boi Mela on condition. A four-member bench of the Appellate Division led by Chief Justice Hasan Foez Siddique passed the order after hearing a petition. With the latest order, Adarsha Prokashoni will not be allowed to participate in the book fair. Also read: HC asks Bangla Academy for stall allotment to Adarsha Prokashoni on condition Advocate Anik R Haque stood for Adarsha Prokashoni while Senior Advocate Attorney General AM Amin Uddin represented Bangla Academy. On February 8, the HC bench of Justice Md Khasruzzaman and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir passed an order asking the authorities concerned to give stall allotment to Adarsha Prokashoni to participate in the month-long Ekushey Book Fair on condition. Counsel Anik said the court asked the Bangla Academy to give the stall allotment on condition that it cannot keep three books —‘Bangalir Mediocrity’r Sandhane’ by Faham Abdus Salam, ‘Unnoyan Bibhram’ by Zia Hasan and ‘Oprotiroddho Unnoyane Obhaboniyo Kothamala’ by Foyez Ahmad Taiyeb. Read More: Tracing the Roots of Ekushey Boi Mela Later, Bangla Academy filed a petition challenging the HC order. On Monday (February 13), the Chamber Judge of the Appellate Division Justice M Enayetur Rahim set February 15 for hearing on the petition. Advocate Anik said that though the books were not blacklisted or banned, the participation of the publishing house was restricted involving the books. Read More: Boi Mela, Pahela Falgun & Valentine's: Visitors around DU campus spoilt for choice The writers of 600 books, which were published from the Adarsha Prokashoni, will be deprived of taking part in the month-long fair, he said. Owner Mahabubur Rahman filed a petition with the HC seeking intervention after authorities disclosed the names of the participating publishing houses except Adarsha Prokashoni on January 12.
This year’s Amar Ekushey Boi Mela (Book Fair) is unlike anything the country has seen. There are stalls and books but hardly any visitor and people willing to buy books. A recent surge in Coronavirus cases and subsequent clampdown by the government to contain the transmission have only complicated the situation for the publishers who say they are counting huge losses every day. It is especially hard for small publishers. The Bangla Academy went ahead with the fair ignoring recommendations of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). Salespersons at the fair said that there was hardly any sale. Most people are here for visit, not to buy books, they said. “This edition lacks the vibe and lustre of a regular book fair,” one of the salespersons said. “The usual crowd of visitors, writers and publishers is missing. The sale has been frustrating.” Also read: Boi Mela to be open for 3.5 hours a day due to COVID-19
The next Amar Ekushey Book Fair will be organised virtually to prevent the transmission of coronavirus as the country prepares to tackle a possible second wave of Covid-19.