Amar Ekushey Book Fair stalls suffer huge damage in storm

Thousands of books in Amar Ekushey Book Fair have been “completely destroyed” by the Falgun storm, publishers have said.

Staff Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 17 Feb 2019, 04:16 PM
Updated : 17 Feb 2019, 05:59 PM

More than two dozen stalls were damaged during thunderstorms that began on Sunday morning, said Farid Ahmed, a co-organiser of the fair.

The strong winds have blown away the roofs of many stalls. In other stalls, tin roofs were leaking. Books were also damaged when gusty wind blew away protection coverings.     

The Children’s Square has seen the most amount of damage. Water was seen accumulated on the muddy ground, creating big puddles. 

“The book fair has suffered a lot of damage because of the storm. I saw thousands of books getting damaged,” Farid Ahmed told bdnews24.com.

The Publishers’ Association is working to determine the exact amount of damage, he said.

The Bangla Academy authorities had previously warned the publishers about the storm. There were also announcements over loud speakers since Saturday evening in the fair premises.

Ahmed thinks that even though the publishers took preparations, it was not enough. He talked about the defects in the construction of some stalls that had completely collapsed.

Several stalls in the Little Mag square inside Bangla Academy have also been damaged. 

Stalls by Annyaprokash, Adorn, Mowla Brothers, UCL, Panjeree Publications and Annesha are among publishing houses badly affected.

Around 300 books of Panjeree Publications got soaked in the rain, said Kamrul Hasan Shayak, one of the proprietors.

"Pavilions of the big publishers were positioned on open grounds. They were badly hit hard by the stormy winds,” he said.

Utsho Prokashon owner Mostafa Selim told bdnews24.com that 400 books of his publication were damaged beyond repair.

"Books get damaged by two to three drops of water. But there was so much more water compared to that! About 400 of my books have been completely destroyed. I left the place last night covering everything because of the forecast. But the plastic coverings were blown away,” he said.

Salesman Tipu has also informed about the damages to the Annyaprokash stall.

"About three-quarters of the books in the stalls have been completely drenched in the rain. The pavilion is in bad shape. I covered everything and left last night. When I arrived in the morning, the plastic sheets were gone. The books were completely wet,” he told bdnews24.com.

Around 500 books by Babui Prokashoni were damaged.

Babui Prokashoni owner Kadir Babu said that the fair opened at 3pm after the rains stopped. His stall is located in the Children’s Square, where the damage was worse.

"The Shishu Rajjo stall in the Children’s Square has completely broken down. Besides, many stalls including Kalantar, Mahi, Children's Corner and Fulki have been damaged," Babu, also general secretary of Shishu Kishor Prokashona Porishod, told bdnews24.com.

Publishers’ Association of Bangladesh President Farid Ahmed also criticised the organisation responsible for the construction of the Children's Square.

"It has now been proven that the Children’s Square was neglected. No bricks were planted in front of Sisimpur stall. Water has accumulated there. No fair visitors have been able to go there,” he said.

Bangla Academy Officer and the Caretaker of Little Mag Corner Aminur Rahman Sultan said several books have been damaged during the storm in the Little Mag Square. However, the amount of damage there is relatively less.

The banners and festoons on both sides of the book fair have also fallen on the ground.

But the damage is less than witnessed in previous years, Bangla Academy director Jalal Ahmed told a weekly briefing about the fair.

“The forecast said there would be thundery storms in the start of spring, so we warned all publishers participating in the fair and advised them to get insured for fire and storm incidents. Everyone did exactly that. That is why the damage is less this year,”

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher