Five more days of Kolkata Book Fair, courtesy CM

All the political tension between India and Bangladesh on issues like the sharing of Teesta water or exchange of enclaves will give way to bonhomie at the 37th Kolkata Book Fair, at which the eastern neighbour will be the theme country.

The fair will be on from January 26 to February 10.

It was in deference to the wishes of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who will be present on the inaugural day, that the book fair, usually a 10-day affair, has been given a duration of 15 days.

While the fair with 700 stalls will be inaugurated by Bangladesh intellectual Anisuzzaman, Bangladesh minister for finance Abdul Al Majid will be the guest of honour. Nobel Laureate from Bangladesh Mohammad Yunus will join Amartya Sen at the literary meet at the fair starting from January 30.

"We will have a huge presence at the fair with 34 stalls, three seminars and a host of representatives from our cultural field. One of the seminars will be devoted to Bangabandhu Shaikh Mujibur Rehman,'' Abida Islam, Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh, told The Indian Express.

Apart from Bangladesh, 14 other countries including the US, UK, Germany, France, Pakistan, Costa Rica, Honduras will set up stalls.

A top-level meeting was held today at Writers' Buildings between representatives of Publishers and Booksellers Guild, organisers of the fair, and officials of the state government led by chief secretary Sanjay Mitra.

"We will provide as many facilities to the visitors as possible. While entry will be free like it was last year, we will run a free bus services from a few select points of the city,'' Tridib Chatterjee, president of the Guild, said. While the footfall last year was 16 lakh, this year the authorities expect it to cross 20 lakh.

Chatterjee said the fair will organise a Sunil Gangopadhyay Memorial lecture in memory of the litterateur who died last year.

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