The Ministry of Education (MoE) may cancel the nine-day New Delhi Annual World Book Fair, which was set to begin on January 8. This decision has been taken on the basis of rules given by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in response to an increase in Covid cases. However, the National Book Trust (NBT), the primary organiser of the fair's 30th edition, has submitted a report to the federal government outlining the fair's options, which includes delaying it until April 2021 or being organised as a virtual event in the same month.
Govind Prasad Sharma, the Chairman of the NBT, had previously told the media that he had advised the Ministry of Education regarding the risks in organising the Book Fair in the current situation. He says, "Most publishers have expressed their unavailability for this edition of the book fair. We don’t have much time left for the preparations. And, considering the expected heavy footfall, the organisers will never take the risk with people's lives. The fair is almost cancelled. Now, we are just waiting for the orders from the ministry." he said in a statement.
Cityspidey talked to a few bibliophiles and annual visitors to the fair about their views on the alleged cancellation of the Annual Book Fair 2022.
Alvira Nasir, 24, a writer from Delhi, says, "It is very unfortunate for all the book lovers in Delhi, as their favourite book fair 2022 has been postponed. Here at the event, we get the chance to see a lot of uncommon books, which are very rare to find anywhere else. We also can meet and greet different writers of different fields. That is also a reason I visit the Delhi book fair regularly. I have gathered that this time book fair might happen in April, and if it happens then, the weather will be too hot to enjoy the stroll at the fair. January will be perfect for enjoying the weather."
Siddharth Mishra, 56, who works in a Delhi based publishing house, says, "I always look out for the Annual Book Fair as I get to see what the other publishing houses have to offer to its readers. Here is also get to meet my friends from the publishing industry. I am looking forward it to happening as soon as possible."
The New Delhi World Book Fair is one of the most prestigious and largest book fairs in the Afro-Asian region, with a strong following in the international publishing sector. The topic for this year's festival was 'Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav', commemorating 75 years of Indian independence. A special Children's Authors' Corner and Yuva Corner were designed to attract young talent this year, with France as the guest country.