Organised annually to promote the habit of reading among the public, the 28th Imphal Book Fair 2020 began on Friday at Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) ground, Kwakeithel Imphal. The 10-day book fair will go on till January 19.
Speaking as chief guest of the inaugural function, CAF and PD Minister Karam Shyam drew the attention of the chief minister and other ministers for an increase in the budget allocation for art and culture so that various branches of the department, including the State Central Library may be given the much needed boost.
Stressing on the need to hone a reading habit to bring about a well-developed society, the minister urged the chief minister and other colleagues in the government to work for implementation of the Manipur Public Libraries Act, 1988 at the earliest. Inculcating a reading habit will transform the character and morals of the society, he added.
Shyam further exhorted the youths to take interest in reading and visit book fairs rather than demanding that their parents buy bikes for them.
Art and Culture Minister L Jayantakumar, who was the president of the inaugural function, assured implementation of the Manipur Public Libraries Act, 1988 within the term of the present state government.
The minister, however, said more important thing than implementation of the act is to ensure its effectiveness. With the lack of staff in every art and culture institute in the state, the government is facing a lot of inconveniences in ensuring maximum utility with minimum resources, he said.
“It seems only the minister concerned is blamed for the sorry state of art and culture in Manipur,” he said, adding that people’s participation and cooperation is crucial and would be a thriving force for the development of art and culture.
Minister Jayantakumar expressed worry over the diminishing libraries in local clubs. It indicates that there is a changed behaviour among today’s youth who are taking less interest in reading books, he stated.
Chief librarian, State Central Library, L Momota intimated that as many as 46 book firms (31 local and 15 from outside) are selling books at the book fair. She also informed that the fair is giving 15 percent discount on the books and many interesting programmes like spot painting competition for children, meet the prominent person, meet the indigenous sports persons, career counseling among others would also be held during the fair.
A visitor, Ch Ibohal of Library and Information Sciences department, Manipur University observed that the book fair will immensely benefit the students and readers as many books not available in the state are also made available by stalls from outside at a discounted price.
Commissioner, art and culture, M Joy, director, art and culture, A Shivdas Sharma, and president, Manipur Library Association, K Chaoba were also present at today’s inaugural function.
The book fair is being organised by the State Central Library in collaboration with Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation, Kolkata.