On Friday, Minister of State for Cultural Affairs, KM Khalid, urged book lovers to carry their Covid-19 vaccination cards and follow health guidelines when visiting the upcoming Amar Ekushey Boi Mela.
He also assured publishers that the authorities would reduce stand prices by 50% to minimize losses for publishers.
“We will also extend the fair if the Covid-19 infection rate drops,” he said, visiting the preparations for the Amar Ekushey Boi Mela in Suhrawardy Udyan on Friday afternoon.
Earlier on February 9, he said the government plans to extend the Amar Ekushey Boi Mela, which is expected to start from February 15 for two weeks.
This year, visitors will be allowed to visit the fair site from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. every day. Doors will open at 11 a.m. on holidays but close at 9 p.m. daily. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to virtually inaugurate the fair.
An attractive and safe corner for children will also be set up at the fair and a working group will remain vigilant, added the minister.
People who will be working at the fair – publishers, stall owners and vendors – will not be allowed on mela premises if they are not vaccinated and have been urged to get their doses of the Covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible.
Last year the month-long fair, which usually starts on February 1, was postponed to avoid the risk of Covid-19 transmissions. The fair was finally launched on March 18 at the premises of Bangla Academy and an adjacent venue in Suhrawardy Udyan in the capital.
Nevertheless, the publishers suffered huge losses as the turnover of book lovers was unsatisfactory, leading to poor sales.