Amar Ekushey Boimela, the country's largest month-long book fair, is going to start today (Tuesday) on the Bangla Academy premises and at the adjacent Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital.
The fair will continue until February 28. However, there is possibility of extending its duration, if the Covid-19 pandemic situation improves, said State Minister for Cultural Affairs K M Khalid.
This year, the fair will remain open from 2:00 pm to 9:00 pm from Sunday to Thursday, and from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm on the weekly holidays. The fair will remain open from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm on 21st February.
The main theme of the fair is - birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and golden jubilee of independence.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to inaugurate the fair virtually from Gonobhaban at 3:00 pm on the day. At the opening ceremony, Bangla Academy Literary Award 2021 will be given to the winners.
Bangla Academy Director General Mohammad Nurul Huda will deliver the welcome speech at the ceremony, while its President Selina Hossain will be in the chair. State Minister K M Khalid will attend the event as a special guest, and Secretary of Cultural Affairs Ministry Dr Abul Monsur will deliver greeting speech.
The Bangla Academy authorities have allotted 142 stalls of 102 organisations on the academy premises and 634 stalls of 432 organisations at the Suhrawardy Udyan.
They authorities have allotted 776 stalls of a total of 534 organisations and 35 pavilions along with that of Bangla Academy. They have also allocated 127 stalls to little magazines at the Suhrawardy Udyan. They have done these allotments through online process for the fourth time.
The children's corner will be on the Suhrawardy Udyan. The corner will have hours dedicated to children; but due to the pandemic situation, it will be off for the first few days.
Dr Jalal Ahmed, member secretary of the fair organising committee, disclosed these at a press conference, held at Abdul Karim Auditorium of the academy on Monday.
"There will be three information centres to publish the fair activities. One will be at the west altar of Bangla Academy extension building, and the other two will be at the Suhrawardy Udyan."
"Bangladesh Police, RAB and other agencies will monitor the fair strictly. More than 300 CCTV cameras have already been installed for security purposes."
"This year, four entrance and three exit gates have been set up at the Suhrawardy Udyan, and secure roofs have also been installed at every entrance gate for visitors to take shelter in case of bad weather," he added.
Meanwhile, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Md Shafiqul Islam, at another press briefing on Sunday, urged all to come to the fair by following the health guidelines.
This year security will be tightened on the fair premises, from Shaheed Minar to Shahbag and Nilkhet; and primary checking teams will be deployed in the areas.
No vehicles will be allowed on the fair premises; and everyone will enter the fair venue through the archways after metal detector checking.
"There will be three-tier security system. There is no threat of sabotage or attack on publishers at the book fair. However, keeping the past in mind, we have increased our surveillance."
"We are monitoring all kinds of suspicious acts; and will take appropriate actions, if any unwanted incident is reported," he added.
Members of the Access to Information (A2I) Programme of the Prime Minister's Office will assist the book lovers at the fair by providing necessary information, like the previous years. The fair will feature unveiling of books, seminars, discussions, and cultural events.