FIRE SAFETY first! This is going to be the buzzword of the National Book Fair, scheduled to be held at Balrampur Gardens from September 1 to 10. Is this going to be the first-ever fire-safe fair then? Yes! The organisers have already attained a compliance level on 20 out of 24 total fire-safety norms. Discussions are on with the district fire officers as to how to go about the remaining four. And that will make the fair a 100 per cent fire-proof affair.
The organisers—The Federation of Publishers’ & Booksellers’ Association in India (FPBAI)— have decided to make it a completely fire-safe keeping in mind the Meerut tragedy.
The federation has decided to do away with fire-sensitive PVC roofing on the pre-fabricated hangar and replace it with aluminum roofing. Apart from this, the semi-circular hangar will not start and end from ground-to-ground. It will start a few feet above the ground and end a few feet above the ground as another fire safety norm to keep the entire massive hangar airy and well ventilated.
Apart from fire safety measures, the fair will be better organised in even more ways. It will be more spread out less congested. Along with this time there will be a separate ‘Bestsellers Stall’ where recent and bygone bestsellers will be put up for sale.
The fair may be just as big as last year’s in number of stalls as the organisers have decided not to increase the number of stalls. “This is because the FPBAI has decided to stick to fire safety norms—this is the first book fair that they are holding in the state after the Meerut fire incident,” said Devraj Arora, coordinator for the fair.
The fair will have pre-fabricated octonome stalls.
As FPBAI has observed that in Lucknow book reading had been drastically low. So FPBAI had devised a strategy to keep its annual fair in Lucknow during ‘Pitrapaksha’. This is due to the fact that marriages, festive fairs, festive shopping and outings are generally avoided during this time. So, in the absence of all those things, people can be attracted to the books. And the strategy has worked well in past four years. However, this time Pitrapaksha is falling earlier than last year and during the monsoon. Owing to this, the organisers are going in for a complete waterproofing of the entire area.
Arora said there would be better food, snacks and refreshments arrangements. But, all this would be away from the books hangar. Then there will be various kinds of literary events—like ‘Meet the author’ everyday.