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Workers race against time to put up stalls, even as Kolkata Book Fair kicks off

The 41st International Kolkata Book Fair kicked off on Wednesday at the Milan Mela Grounds in east Kolkata, but most of the stalls are not yet ready, courtesy the recently concluded Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS).

As Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurated the fair on Wednesday evening, the stalls were still being put up on the grounds. “We did not get enough time to put up the stalls as the dismantling of the BGBS structures which concluded on January 21 took a lot of time. For the last two days we have been working round the clock to put things in place, but it was impossible to finish on time. We won’t be ready till Thursday evening,” said Badri Prasad Yadav, who was in charge of putting up a stall of the New Light Publishers.

Similar was the view of Sanjeev Giri, who was looking after the stall of Made Easy Publications. “Had there been a little more time we could have finished the work comfortably. We are still struggling to put up the stalls,” he said.

Even SBI, which had assured to make cash vans available for people to withdraw money, doesn’t have its stall ready. “We are trying our best, but the stall will not be ready till Thursday afternoon,” said Rajiv Ghosh, one of the workers.

This year’s theme country is Costa Rica and there are about 600 participants, including 200 magazine counters. The book fair will continue till February 5.