Amid the joy of the Manipur government order extending the 30th Book Fair at State Central Library, Imphal for another three days, book firms and publishing houses at the fair are expressing their disappointment over the extra charges that are being slapped to the stalls for the additional three days.
This year, the book fair stalls were charged Rs 7,000 for seven days as compared to previous year’s Rs 7,000 for 10 days; altogether there are 52 stalls this year.
The extra charges for the additional three days totals to around Rs 1,300.
Several book publishers at the fair expressed deep concern about the organisation of the fair and its future while also maintaining that the sales this year were relatively low because of the ongoing crisis.
Speaking to the media, proprietor of Royal Book House, Ningthemcha Sanathoi Piba, appealed to the organising committee of the fair to be more meticulous in their planning for future book fair.
“National Book Trust and Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library Foundation used to sponsor the construction of the stalls around 2012-13. But unfortunately, the foundation cut off all monetary sanctions to State Central Library due to a scandal regarding misappropriation of funds sanctioned from the foundation,” he said.
He stated that the foundation used to sanction nearly 90 per cent of the funds for the fair while the state government matched it with only 10 per cent.
He further appealed to authorities concerned to investigate the matter and apprehend the culprits behind the misappropriation so that the fund flow from the Raja Ram Mohan Roy Library Foundation could be restored.
He also expressed discontentment over the additional charges for the three days stating that it is unreasonable.
On the other hand, Sanathoi appealed to the book fair organising committee and library association to acclimatise the Manipuri writers and publishers on the general guidelines that are mandated in book firms outside the state.
“The commission for selling local books is very small compared to outside books. They are also very hard to stock and sell but the local publishers are aware about the changing trends in book publication and sales,” he said.
He expressed gratitude over the extension of the book fair and maintained that it would benefit the customers and the book sellers.
Meanwhile, chief librarian of State Central Library RK Urmila highlighted that the book fair had been extended following a government order on December 21.
“The fair will be over on Sunday. It was extended on public demand and also the demand of book stall owners,” she said.
She maintained that the extra charges for the three days were confirmed after consultation with the book stall owners.
“Rs 15 lakh was allocated for organising the fair. Authorities maintained that they would not spare extra budget for the additional as such an undertaking between the firm and organisers was taken,” she said.
She highlighted that the visitor turn-out this year was not big as previous years.
The space is a little congested on top of that the fair was organised on very short notice, she added.