MM Jasim :The curtain lifts on the month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair 2014, begins today (Saturday) on the Bangla Academy premises, with the participation of 199 publishing houses and different government organisations. This year, the space of the fair has been extended to Suhrawardy Udyan. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to inaugurate the fair at 3:00pm while cultural affair minister Assaduzzaman Noor will address the inaugural session as special guest. Bangla Academy director general, Prof. Shamuzzaman Khan and publishers’ representative Mohiuddin Ahmad will also speak on the occasion. Chairman of the academy Professor Anisuzzaman will preside over the programme, to be broadcast live by Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar. This year, the book fair would be devoting to the late eminent jurist and former chief justice Muhammad Habibur Rahman, also language hero and former caretaker government chief advisor. The Bangla Academy authorities have already completed all-out preparation to arrange the month-long Amar Ekushey Book Fair. Bangla Academy hopes that this year’s book fair would be the largest ever gathering of book lovers and there would be increased number of participating publishers as the venue of the fair has been extended to Suhrawardy Udyan. This year, the government institutions and organisations will set up their stalls on the Bangla Academy premises while all the publishing houses will set up stalls at Suhrawardy Udyan. “We do not want to see the book fair as a mini-trade fair displaying everything from daily commodities to foods and toys for children on the fair premises,” said the academy DG, Shamuzzaman Khan, while addressing a press conference on Friday.About security measures on the fair premises, he said reinforced security measures have been taken to avoid untoward situation.Sufficient number of police, RAB and other law enforcers will be deployed to maintain law and order, said the fair organising committee member-secretary, Shahida Khatun.The fair committees are yet to finalise the date for Shishu Prahar, a day or part of a day dedicated to children, said the academy DG.The book fair will remain open to the visitors between 3:00pm and 9:00pm every daily and from 11:00am to 9:00pm on holidays. On February 21, the fair will remain open between 8:00am and 9:00pm. The academy will provide a 30 per cent discount while other publishers 25 per cent on the prices of their books. Wifi facilities will be available in the fair.Talking to The New Nation, Atik Rahman, owner of Priyo Prokashani, on Friday said the decision to extend fair venue to Suhrawardy Udyan is not at all wise so far sale of books is concerned. He is of the view that visitors will be divided into two groups to enter the fair venue, which will hamper sale of books. “We were prepared to decorate our stalls since 22 January but Bangla Academy made us delay the process,” he said, adding that the publishers want proper management of the fair.Shajahan Abdali of Gronthokanon Prokashoni said, “My publishing house got single-unit stall but I wanted minimum double unit.” Abu Taher Mia of Sobdokosh Prokashoni said the book fair is not only a fair it is also a festival for Bengali people. So, Bangla Academy should take steps to ensure that visitors as well publishers enjoy the fair.The Bangla Academy authorities have already formed a book fair management committee with Bangla Academy director general Prof Shamsuzzaman Khan as president and director Shahida Khatun as convener. He said the authorities have made arrangement for tight security measures in and around the Bangla Academy premises and Suhrawardy Udyan to avert any untoward incident. The Close Circuit TV (CCTV) cameras will be installed at different points of the book fair. A temporary police camp will be set up in the fair while police, Rab and plainclothes law enforcers will be deployed at the fair venue, the Bangla Academy official said.