Demonetisation is likely to affect the 41st edition of the International Kolkata Book Fair, scheduled to be inaugurated on January 25 next year.
Addressing the newsmen at the Bengal Chamber of Commerce and Industry office on Tuesday, the Publishers and Book Sellers Guild’s General Secretary Tridib Kumar Chatterjee said that the cash crunch caused by the demonetisation of high value currency notes will have an adverse effect on the book fair. The organisers are apprehending that there would be a curtailment in the number of books being sold at the fair. The regional publishers dealing in vernacular books and small magazines will mostly feel the heat.
The organisers are, however, taking necessary steps to install more number of ATM machines on the Fair ground. The various banks have been urged to take necessary steps so that the book lovers do not face any difficulties while buying books. They are also giving a great stress on the use of E-wallet and usage of debit cards during the purchase of books.
There is always a possibility of failure of connectivity server if a large number of people swipe their debit cards at a time. The swiping machine does not function properly in case there is a heavy rush of the buyers using the same connectivity server, Chatterjee said.
“The challenges we will face are related to card swiping and many of the workers working in various publishing houses in the state do not have a bank account and they get their remuneration in cash and hence many publishing houses are facing problems to pay their salaries. As a result of this, the publishers are not ready to take risks of publishing books which are eventually put on display at various stalls in the Book Fair. There may be a dip in the supply and demands of various books. It is difficult to pay cheques to the workers in the printing units,” Chatterjee said.
He also added: “We have already discussed various issues with the senior officials of a nationalised bank for the maximum usage of the ATM counters in the fair. We apprehend that in comparison to the previous year, less number of books will be sold at the fair. It is expected that altogether around 800 stalls will be set up at the Milan Mela ground.”
Costa Rica has been selected as the focal theme of the forthcoming book fair which will end on February 5. Costa Rica is a country where there is no Defence force and the money which could have been used for strengthening the country’s military installations are actually utilised in the education sector sending out a strong message for the others.