In the middle of Suhrawardy Udyan, Anannya Publishing House has set up a stall for the book fair scheduled to begin on 18 March. Enduring a year of Covid-19, it has high hopes centring on the bookfair.
The fair premises at Bangla Academy and Suhrawardy Udyan are now abuzz with sounds of hammering woods and other construction materials to build makeshift stalls. Some publishers have already completed the construction job and are now busy giving the stores a coat of paint.
Ananya Publishing thinks the platform will help it recover from the loss of business though there are concerns over the rising Covid infection and adverse weather conditions, Salesman Faruque Ahmed said.
State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid has said that if the Covid situation deteriorates, the authorities may have to take a difficult decision.
At a press conference on Monday, he said the academy would take every possible step regarding health safety. "Those who will come to the fair will have to abide by the health safety guidelines."
To avoid crowds, the authorities expanded the fair ground this year so that visitors can maintain safe distance, said Habibullah Shirazi, of the academy.
The fair area at Suhrawardy Udyan is about 15 lakh square feet, increasing the total area to accommodate 834 stalls of 540 organisations.
The fair will be held for a month, as in previous years, with Bangla Academy publishing 115 books – old and new. The main theme is the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of independence.
Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the fair virtually from Ganabhaban on 18 March. She will unveil the English translation of the book "Amar Dekha Nayachin" written by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The fair will remain open to visitors between 3:00pm and 9:30pm on weekdays and from 11:00am to 9:00 on Fridays and Saturdays. It will be free of smoking and polythene.
At the fair, three-tier safety protocols will be maintained. There will be a second entrance and parking facility.
No one will be allowed in the premises without a mask, and it should be put on as per instructions.
Moreover, people will get hand sanitiser. More than a hundred CCTV cameras will be installed in the area to ensure security.