The decision came from the higher level of the government and left nothing for discussion, says member secretary of the fair organizing committee
Publishers have expressed extreme displeasure over Bangla Academy’s decision to keep the Amar Ekushey Book Fair open for only three and a half hours on the weekdays.
They said that they do not understand how such an important decision was made without a meeting of the fair management committee or any communication with the publishers.
Under the circumstances, the publishers association has decided to hold a meeting on Thursday to discuss the matter and they will inform the Bangla Academy director general (DG) about their decision, reports Bangla Tribune.
The publishers on Thursday will also hold form human chain at the fairground in protest against the decision.
With Covid-19 cases and on the rise in the country, the Bangla Academy on Wednesday announced that the book fair will open at 3pm and close at 6:30pm on the weekdays. On the weekends, however, the fair will open at 11am and close at 6:30pm.
Publishers said, if the academy had consulted them, they would have suggested keeping the fair open from 5pm to 8pm, since most people come to the fair in the evening.
Razia Rahman Joly of Jagriti Prokashoni said the academy should have taken the decision after talking to the publishers.
Khandaker Sohail, head of Bhashachitra, said: “No one comes to the book fair in the afternoon. If the fair must stay open only for three and a half hours, then the time should start from 5pm.”
Farid Ahmed, president of the publishers association, said they will call on the Bangla Academy DG after their meeting on Thursday.
“This decision as stunned all of us,” he added.
However, Bangla Academy Director (Sales, Marketing and Reprint) Jalal Ahmed, who is also the member secretary of the book fair organizing committee, said the decision had come from the higher level of the government and left nothing for discussion.
On Monday, the government had issued 18 directives, imposed on the whole country, in order to curb the recent surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths.
The new instructions strictly limit public gatherings at tourist spots, cinema halls and theatres, while discourage fairs and exhibitions of all kind.
Various offices have also been asked to operate with 50% manpower. All types of public transport are also now carrying passengers at half capacity, and because of that the authorities have also raised fares of buses and water vessels by 60% to tackle the losses.