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PM to open Ekushey Book Fair today

Staff Reporter:

The month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair-2024 is set to begin today at Bangla Academy and Suhrawardy Udyan premises as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to inaugurate the country’s largest book fair.
“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to inaugurate the fair at 3 pm today,” Bangla Academy Di-rector General poet Mohammad Nurul Huda said.
The premier will also confer the Bangla Academy Literary Award-2023 on the winners along with un-veiling the covers of some books including ‘Collected Works of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman: Volume-2’, published by Bangla Academy.
The theme of this year’s book fair is “Paro Boi, Garo Desh: Bangabandhur Bangladesh (Read Book, build country: Bangabandhu’s Bangladesh) and the Bangla Academy is organizing the fair.
A total of 937 stalls have been allocated to 635 organizations on the book fair. The authorities have al-lotted 173 stalls to 120 organizations on the Bangla Academy ground and 764 stalls to 515 organizations at the Suhrawardy Udyan.
A total of 37 pavilions have also been allocated this year.
Last year, a total of 901 stalls were allocated in favour of 601 organisations.
The entire work of the fair is being done by Bangla Academy alone to avoid any criticism, said Member Secretary of the Amar Ekushey Book Fair Committee Dr KM Muzahidul Islam, adding, “Almost 95 percent work will be done by today morning”.
“In the previous years, some event management companies were involved in fair arrangements which faced some criticism last year”, said Muzahidul.
Along with cultural programs and month-long seminars, there will be arrangements for children and teenagers which include drawing, music and recitation competitions.
Stall allotment for old and newly enlisted publications was accomplished through a digitalised lottery system on January 23, said the organizers.
Like the previous years, the main stage of the fair will be on the Bangla Academy premises while book unwrapping and ‘Lekhak Bolchi’ stages will be set up on Suhrawardi Udyan premises, said Mujahidul.
‘Shishu Chattar’ has also been set up in Sadhu Shanga area beside the Ramna Kali Temple.
The book fair will remain open for all from 3 pm to 9 pm on working days and 11:00 am to 9 pm on public holidays with a one-hour break for lunch and prayers.
For notable contributions to various aspects of Bangla literature, this year, the Bangla Academy Literary Award-2023 will be given in 11 categories- poetry, fiction, essay/research, translation, drama, children’s literature category, Liberation War, Bangabandhu, environment/science field, biography and folklore.
The award recipients are: Shamim Azad (poetry), Novelists Nuruddin Jahangir and Salma Bani (jointly in fiction), Zulfikar Matin (essay/research), Saleha Chowdhury (translation), Playwrights Mrittika Chakma and Masud Pathik (jointly in drama), Tapankar Chakrabarty (children’s literature), Afroza Parvin and Asaduzzaman Asad (research on the Liberation War), Saifullah Mahmud Dulal and Md Mo-jibur Rahman (research on Bangabandhu), ornithologist Inam Al Haque (environment/science field), Ishak Khan (biography) and Tapan Bagchi and Suman Kumar Das (jointly in folklore).
Meanwhile, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has taken all-out measures to ensure foolproof security of the fair, DMP said in a press release after a meeting with senior police officials.
DMP will deploy sufficient police personnel in both uniform and plain cloth inside and outside the book fair ground while a watch tower and fire tender will be set up to monitor situation around the fair venue.
The fairground and its surrounding areas will be on CCTV cameras and drone surveillance, DMP com-missioner said.
DMP teams will be tasked with eyeing the whole venue while social media will be monitored to thwart any rumour as well.

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