The portion of Amar Ekushey Grantha Mela 2014 situated in the capital's Suhrawardy Udyan witnessed a relaxed mood yesterday afternoon with some spaces for stalls still lying empty and several stalls yet to get decorations, let alone have books on display.
Carpenters were found working inside Kobi Prakashani and Josna Publishers while makeshift curtains covered the stalls of Gotidhara, Rare Books and Bishwa Sahitya Kendra, showing no sign of sales.
A sales representative of publication house Suchipatra said their delay was for the sponsor's withdrawal just the day before the fair's inauguration on Saturday after being barred from putting up advertisements on the stall's interior.
The fair's rules and regulations this year states that failure to start operations in full swing from the inauguration will result in stall allotment cancellation and make the allotment holder non-eligible for participation next year.
Moreover, advertisements which are not relevant to the fair or not in line with its ambience cannot be put up inside stalls.
An official of the fair's organiser, Bangla Academy, the premises of which is housing the fair's other portion, said the preparation delay was for security requirements of the inauguration ceremony attended by the prime minister.
The official said it usually takes a day or two to put everything into order.
Regarding the empty spaces, Bangla Academy Deputy Director (Public Relations) Murshid Anwar said, “Those will be used to set up necessary booths like an information centre and a control room.”
He also said the stalls could not be provided serial numbers yet as there were some changes and reviews regarding the allotments.
Meanwhile, hawkers were found selling pirated books of Indian writers and books on cartoon characters and other subjects on the pavement before Bangla Academy, stretching from the Doyel Chattar intersection to Dhaka University's Teacher-Student Centre.
Murshid said they would inform law enforcers to take steps.
Traffic on the road along this stretch of pavement was made off limits to vehicles from 3:00pm to 9:00pm yesterday.
Sergeant Faruk Hasan of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Traffic Division said the decision was taken yesterday to reduce public hazards and will remain effective on weekdays. He, however, could not inform on measures for Friday.
Another event, the two-day National Poetry Festival 2014 in Hakim Chattar, beside the DU central library, ended yesterday around 8:30pm with songs adapted from poems. Earlier, two discussion sessions were held from 11:00am.
The festival saw over 550 poets, including those of Bangladesh's indigenous communities and from Europe, whose rendition of poems started from 1:00pm in different languages, including Bangla and Ahomia and Kakaborok, used in India.
This year Kobita Parishad presented poet Mohammad Rafique, a faculty member of Jahangirnagar University, with a prize worth Tk 1 lakh.