Dhaka, Feb 24 (UNB) :The decision to organise Amar Ekushey Granathamela, the longest duration book fair in the world, from March 18 to April 14 has come under criticism.This is because publishers and writers fear pre-monsoon showers at the time may play spoilsport. Pre-monsoon rains are common
in Bangladesh and account for about 72% of the annual rainfall.
According to weathertovisit.com, March is the fifth driest month of the year in Dhaka. The city receives around 54mm of rainfall on an average every March. These showers are typically spread over three days.
On the other hand, April is the sixth driest month of the year in Dhaka. On an average, the city receives around 138mm of rainfall every April. And these showers are typically spread over seven days.
In the last couple of years too when the fair was organised in February, stall owners had suffered huge losses due to heavy pre-monsoon showers and thunderstorms.
According to a weather report, it may heavily rain in March and April this year.
Publisher of Shraban Prakashani Robin Ahsan told UNB the decision to arrange the book fair in March-April was not at all wise.
“The pre-monsoon showers will hit sales of books at the fair. Already publishers and book stall owners are reeling under losses,” he said.
This year, the book fair will also miss the different special days like Pohela Falgun, Valentine’s Day and 21st February when sales peak, he added.
A regular visitor to the book fair, theatre activist Golap Hossain also echoed similar sentiments. “It will be just a commercial trade fair this year. Moreover, the pre-monsoon showers will discourage people from visiting the fair.”
However, organisers say steps are being taken to make the book fair a success.
Member secretary of the fair organising committee Jalal Ahmed said, “We will arrange more facilities for the publishers so as to reduce their losses.”
“The design of the book stalls will be done taking into consideration the natural calamities during March and April,” he said.
Jalal said they have already taken relevant documents from the publishers for giving them insurance coverage so as to protect them from big losses. “Stall owners can claim compensation from insurance companies as insurance coverage has been made compulsory for them at Ekushey book fair like in previous years.”
The Amar Ekushey Book Fair-2021 will begin on March 18 and continue till April 14.
On December 10, 2020, in its executive council meeting, the organising committee took the decision to postpone the Amar Ekushey Book Fair in the wake of the Covid pandemic.
The book fair is organised every year by Bangla Academy dedicating the event to the language martyrs of 1952.
Though the fair was started by Muktodhara Publishing house on 21 February 1972 on Martyrs’ Day and International Mother Language Day, it was taken over by the Academy in 1978 and named ‘Amar Ekushey Book Fair’ in 1984.