While the government has shut shopping malls and restricted movement of public transport fearing further surge in coronavirus cases, the decision of keeping Ekushey Book Fair open for visitors has caught flak.
Hours after the issuance of the circular, flurry of criticism flooded social media on the issue.
According to its circular, the cabinet division has imposed restriction on public transport and asked people not to go outside from 6am to 6pm in the next seven days.
On the other hand, Ministry of Cultural Affairs decided to limit the visiting hours at Amar Ekushey Boi Mela 2021 from 12pm to 5pm everyday until further notice.
They issued a notification in this regard.
A citizen wrote on Facebook, there should have some directives for law enforcers as how they would deal with visitors of book fair as mass transport is restricted.
Mentioning the book fair, another person questioned, “What kind of lockdown is this? Is the government really serious about spread of Covid-19 infection?”
Earlier on March 31, Bangla Academy cut the daily opening hours of Amar Ekushey Boi Mela 2021 by two and a half hours as the fair was scheduled to be closed at 6:30pm everyday.
The Boi Mela was supposed to remain open from 3-9pm on weekdays and from 8:30am to 9pm on weekends, with an hour’s break for lunch and prayers.
Contacted, State Minister for Ministry of Cultural Affairs KM Khalid said the book fair will continue following health guidelines.
When his attention was drawn over public transport movement, he said people with their own transport could visit fair.
“Let’s see, if it does not work out, we will take further decision,” Khalid said.
Though the month-long fair commemorating the 1952 Language Movement is usually held in February every year, this year’s event was delayed due to the pandemic.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on March 18 inaugurated the book fair at Bangla Academy premises and Suhrawardy Udyan.
The 28-day event is scheduled to end on April 14.