Unavailability of Gandhi Maidan forces organisers to cancel Patna book fair
Most of the leading publishers had insisted that they will only be part of the book fair if the event is held at Gandhi Maidan, says Amarendra Jha, secretary, CRD.
The Patna Book Fair, which was scheduled to be held in Gandhi Maidan from December 3 till December 13 this year has been cancelled, informed convenors of the Centre for Readership Development (CRD). According to the convenors, an application had been submitted to the administration for permission in September to hold the event at the Gandhi Maidan, but there has been no response.
“We had requested the administration for space at the Gandhi Maidan. But still, there has been no response to our request letter. We had to cancel the event as the ground was not available,” Amarendra Jha, secretary, CRD, said.
Jha said that most of the leading publishers had insisted that they will only be part of the book fair if the event is held at Gandhi Maidan. “We had earlier tried to host the book fair at Patliputra ground in the city. Even in 2018, we hosted the event at Gyan Bhawan. But all these venues failed to match the charm of Gandhi Maidan,” he said.
Amit Jha, another member of the organising committee, said that the event was planned considering the decrease in Covid-19 cases in the state. “Things seemed to be getting back to normal. So we planned book fair by the year-end,” Jha, said. But it is learnt that the Gandhi Maidan is not being allotted for any social or cultural event for several months due to Covid-19 pandemic, he added.
The CRD secretary said that in case the administration accepts their request, the Patna Book Fair could be held in February 2022. “We can’t hold the event in January 2022. The ground will not be available due to the Republic Day function and its preparations,“ he said. Not just that, no leading publisher would be available in January as events like World Book Fair in Delhi and Kolkata Book Fair have already been planned at that time, he added.
An official from the district administration, who did not want to be named, said that no social and cultural activities have been allowed at Gandhi Maidan ground since March 2020. “ No point requesting for permission to hold the book fair at the ground,” the official said.
The Patna Book Fair is being held in the state capital since 1985 and in the over 30-year long journey, it’s been mostly held at the Gandhi Maidan. In 2020, the book fair was not held due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.