Ekushey Book Fair delayed for 2 weeks over COVID

Workers set up stalls at Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka on Sunday, Jan 9, 2022, ahead of the Amar Ekushey Book Fair. Photo: Kazi Salahuddin Razu
The month-long Ekushey Book Fair, which usually begins at the start of February in Dhaka, has been pushed back two weeks amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh.

“The Bangla Academy has made thorough preparations to open the book fair. Had the pandemic situation been normal, we could have opened on Feb 1,” State Minister for Cultural Affairs KM Khalid Babu said on Sunday.

However, the state minister said that authorities have yet to fix a date for when the fair would open.

Recently, the government issued an 11-point guideline to curb the rise of COVID-19. One of the restrictions prohibits any social, religious and political gatherings.

The Bangla Academy wants the book fair to be a major event, but with health regulations in place.

The construction of stalls had been underway on the Bangla Academy premises and Suhrawardy Udyan. Like last time, a large section of the Suhrawardy Udyan is being used to build structures for the event.

The fair was warmly welcomed by book enthusiasts after it was delayed about 1.5 months to Mar 18 last year. It ended on Apr 12 that year, a few days ahead of schedule due to the pandemic.