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Delayed start, empty kiosks mar book fair

Ranchi, Jan. 16: The scene on the first day of the national book fair in the state capital was one of utter chaos.

The inauguration time of the fair was delayed by more than four-and-a-half hours, most of the kiosks were empty and no book was in sight.

The 10-day event is being organised by Calcutta-based Knowledge Foundation at Zilla School grounds. The fair was supposed to be inaugurated by vice-chancellor of Ranchi University A.A. Khan, the chief guest, at 1.30pm. However, much to the shock of the visitors, the inauguration was deferred to 6pm.

B.N. Tripathy, in-charge of the fair, said the cause of the delay was the busy schedule of the vice-chancellor. “Khan saab was very busy in the afternoon. So, we decided to postpone the inauguration,” Tripathy said.

If the sudden delay was not enough, booklovers found that only three kiosks were open while the remaining 97 were empty. Not a single book was on display.

Kiosk owners blamed the organisers and transport for the mismanagement.

“The books have not arrived yet. They were supposed to come by train and trucks. And though the petrol strike has been called off, the truck owners are demanding a huge amount of money to ferry the books,” rued Pankaj Kumar, a kiosk owner.

Sachin Kumar, another participant from Delhi who was spotted sitting idle near his vacant kiosk, said he was waiting for the arrival of educational CDs, as there is some transport problem. “The train is 15 hours behind schedule. We have no other option but to wait and watch. In fact, organisers should have given us extra time for making arrangement,” he said.

City-based distributor Rajesh Verma complained they were not provided with racks to display books.

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