With 900 hundred stalls, better CCTV coverage, a separate bus terminus for people visiting the Book Fair, a security watchtower and bio-toilets — the revamped Kolkata Book Fair 2023 is being readied and there’s more in store.
With just a fortnight left for the Book Fair to begin, Boimela Prangan is readying itself. The Book Fair, popularly known as the Boi Mela, will be inaugurated at 2pm on January 30 by chief minister Mamata Banerjee. The fair will be open to visitors between January 31 and February 12.
Spain is the focal country of Book Fair 2023, which will also include the 9th Kolkata Literature Festival from February 9 to 11.
The Publishers and Booksellers’ Guild, which organises the Book Fair, shared an exclusive first look of the Boimela Prangan on January 16.
Meeting held at Nabanna
Tridib Kumar Chatterjee, honorary secretary general of the guild, mentioned the highlights of the infrastructure that is being readied. ‘‘The chief secretary had called a meeting with stakeholders at Nabanna under the instructions of the chief minister. The meeting was attended by representatives of the information and cultural affairs department, security, fire brigade, health and urban development departments, KMDA, Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation and West Bengal Electricity Board. We had a follow-up ground meeting on the same on Monday. We will also inspect the ground today,’’ Chatterjee said.
Brainstorming at the Boimela Prangan
“In a bid to increase the vigil cover, the number of CCTV cameras will be increased. A separate Book Fair bus terminus will be set up. Traffic management will also be handled deftly. KMDA is setting up a permanent control room for the police and fire brigade personnel. To top it all, a watchtower is being installed. The Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation will ensure that the area remains clean. Several bio-toilets are being installed. The parking zone will be the same as last year, but we will have a public address system and the area will be under the vigilance of CCTV. All major junctions will be covered by cameras. Boimela Prangan signages will be installed at the gates and the signature tune will be played. Action will be taken against mosquito menace. KMDA will decorate the periphery of the ground. The PHE will manually station people to take care of the drinking water distribution and reduce wastage of water,” Chatterjee said.
“Food stalls will be set up outside the fairground near the water body. This year, in the history of the Book Fair, we have the maximum number of new publishers,’’ said Sudhangshu Sekhar Dey, president, Publishers and Booksellers’ Guild.
“The number of stalls has increased to almost 900. There are small, medium and large stalls. This is inclusive of Bangladesh and foreign participants. There will be two halls with English books. All multinational and national publishers like Penguin Random House, Harper Collins, Hachette, Bloomsbury, and Pan Macmillan will be participating. The tagline is Boi Porun, Boi Kinun, Boi Upohaar Din (Read Books, Buy Books, Gift Books),” Chatterjee said.
Visitors at last year's Boimela
Chatterjee also had some good news to share for Book Fair 2024. “An underpass is being constructed so that visitors, next year, can reach the venue directly after getting off the Metro, taxi or private vehicles.’’
The newly launched Metro Sealdah-Sector V route has made the Boimela Prangan more accessible. “We are also requesting the authorities to run the Metro on Sundays during the Book Fair,” Tridib Chatterjee said.
Bidhannagar Commissioner of Police Gaurav Sharma said traffic, parking and movement of cars is being discussed.