Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair-2021 on Bangla Academy premises and at Suhrawardy Udyan virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban at 3pm today.
"Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the book fair on March 18 at 3 pm virtually from her official residence Ganabhaban," Dr Jalal Ahmed, director of Bangla Academy and member secretary of Ekushey Book Fair Committee, told a press conference on Tuesday.
At the inaugural function, the Prime Minister will unveil the book 'New China-1952', the English version of 'Amar Dekha Naya Chin' written by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Besides, the premier will also hand over the prizes among the recipients of Bangla Academy Literary Award-2020.
Bangla Academy President Prof Shamsuzzaman Khan will preside over the inaugural function while Bangla Academy director general Habibullah Siraji will deliver the welcome speech at the function.
Though the month-long fair is usually held in February commemorating the 1952 Language Movement, this year the fair has been delayed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the 28-day long book fair, which is supposed to be continued till April 14, can be shut down anytime, if the pandemic situation gets worse, said State Minister for Culture Affairs KM Khalid at the press conference.
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 Granthamela 2021.
For the first time, there will be an entry-point and parking arrangement beside Institution of Engineers, Bangladesh (IEB) along with other three entry points at the Suhrawardy Udyan.
Besides, emergency shelter centers have been set up on Bangla Academy and Suhrawardy Udyan premises adjacent to the entry points considering the possible rain and storm during the 28-day long fair.
The visitors have to strictly maintain the health guidelines for entering the fair premises while there will be arrangement for temperature test, hand washing and sanitizing in fair ground.
The book fair will remain open for all from 3 pm to 9 pm on working days and 8:30 am to 9 pm on public holidays with a one-hour break for lunch and offering prayers.
This year, the land earmarked for the fair has been expanded to 15,00,000 square ft which was 8,00,000 square ft in 2020. A total of 834 units have been allocated to 540 organizations while it was 873 units to 560 organizations in the last year.
The authorities have allotted 154 units at the Bangla Academy ground to 107 organizations, and 680 units at the Suhrawardy Udyan to 433 organizations.
Moreover, a total of 34 pavilions have been allocated this year.
Apart from this, there will be 140 stalls at Little Magazine Chattar which was 155 in 2020.
Noting that necessary security measures have already been taken with installation of more than 300 closed circuit television cameras in and around the Bangla Academy complex, he said the law enforcers will be deployed in a large number to ensure foolproof security in the fair.
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 entrance of writers, litterateurs, poets and senior personalities of different sectors, including civil society members and dignitaries.
Besides, there will be three gates to enter the Bangla Academy premises and six entrance and exit points at Suhrawardy Udyan.