Following the crippling effects of demonetisation, the Publishers and Booksellers Guild has decided to take numerous measures to conduct business smoothly and help out book lovers at the Kolkata Book Fair this year.
State Bank of India Chief General Manager (Kolkata Circle) Partha Pratim Sengupta, while addressing a press conference – organised by Publishers and Booksellers Guild – on Thursday afternoon said that the bank will set up an extension branch exclusively for sellers at the fair.
The branch will help booksellers conduct business without having to worry about cash deficiency and shortage of change. The sellers will also be free to withdraw money from their current accounts.
Moreover, six mobile cash vans will be hovering at the Milan Mela, the venue of Book Fair, to enable buyers to withdraw cash up to Rs 2,000 per day with debit card.
Sengupta also said that the bank will enable the entire book fair campus with free Wi-Fi to help the customers pay for their items digitally. SBI Bank Buddy app can be downloaded to make payments, Sengupta added.
The 41st International Kolkata Book Fair will commence from January 25 and continue till February 5. The inauguration ceremony will take place in the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Costa Rican author Roxana Pinto Lopez and other dignitaries. Costa Rica is the theme country at this year's fair.
The fair will have 600 stalls and 200 little magazines. The large five halls of the fair will mainly have English publications. These halls will be named after litterateurs and other luminaries, such as Mahasweta Devi, Syed Shamsul Haque, Neil O'Brien, Umberto Eco and father Paul Detienne.
There is a 360 degree change in the layout plan of this year's book fair. Small regional publishers have been allotted ready-to-use stalls at a prime location at heavily subsidised rates inside air conditioned hangers. These stalls have been named after Sister Nivedita, Samar Sen and Dinesh Chandra Chattopadhyay.
Free shuttle bus service will also be available from Park Circus to Milan Mela ground and back during the fair. The Guild will also arrange Wi-Fi zones for authors, journalists and guests.
Calcutta Electricity Supply Corporation will launch the 'International Kolkata Book Fair 2017' Android app to help out buyers locate any stalls at the fair. The CESC Literary Sahitya Samman will be awarded this year to senior and eminent poet Nirendranath Chakraborty.
Meanwhile, book lovers' café, quiz, creative writing will be added attractions for the youth at this year's fair. Kolkata Literature Festival will also be held from February 2 to 4 at the Book Fair and Bangladesh Day will be celebrated on February 5.