Bhubaneswar: The state government’s initiatives to host a book fair of international standard in Bhubaneswar  has mired in a raging controversy with various city-based book fair organisers objecting to it. Moreover, organisations hosting book fairs in various parts of the state questions the propriety on the part of the government ignoring them. 

The state government on July 16, 2018 decided to organise the Odisha International Book Fair in January 2019 with the support of four Bhubaneswar-based book fair organisers– Bhubaneswar Pustakmela, Rajdhani Pustakmela, Ekamra Pustak Mahoshav and Kalinga Pustak Mela. The government has also sought the support of the Odisha Puhlishers and Book Sellers Guild for the Book Fair. The meeting chaired by culture minister, Ashok Chandra Panda, listed 13 proposals for conducting the mega book fair. 

  The four book fair organisers, however,  have rejected the government’s proposal stating that a book fair controlled by the state government is not acceptable to them. In a meeting, the office bearers of the four organisations– Renuka Mishra, Upendra Kumar Jena, Ashok Mohanty and Pitabasa Routray– suggested that the book fair should be conducted with the support of the government like the Kolkata International Book Fair but not under the control of the government. 

Now, the government is going to organise the Odisha International Book Fair in February 2019 with the support of Odisha Publishers and Book Sellers Guild. The 

The government, in fact, had formed a state-level book fair organising committee taking representatives of  the four organisations and also the publishers guild to host a mega state-level book fair. The government on August 28,2018 had disbanded the organising committee as there was no consensus who would be the officer bearers of the  committee.

Meanwhile, several organisations hosting book fairs in different parts of the state have questioned the government’s move to recognise only the four Bhubaneswar-based organisations for the Odisha International Book Fair. If the government organising the Fair, it should also include all the organisations that are hosting book fairs in the state. Book fairs are being organised regularly in Rourkela, Kendrapada, Bhadrak(Salandi Pustaka Mela), Jatni, Bherhampur.

” The government should have also consulted organisers of book fairs in other parts of the state for the Odisha International Book Fair”, said Kendrapada Pustak Mela organising committee president Biraja Routray. He has urged the culture minister and also the culture secretary to involve the book fair organisations hosting book fairs in districts and small towns in the process of organsing the mega book fair.