In view of the continuous downpour in the city, the Booksellers and Publishers Association of South Asia (BAPASI), the organisers of the Chennai Book Fair, have declared that the exhibition will be closed on Monday, January 8. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted heavy rainfall in Chennai, and has issued a yellow warning.
The 47th edition of the Chennai Book Fair book fair began on January 3, and will be held until January 21. Nearly 900 stalls have been put up for the fair at the YMCA ground in Nandanam.
As rain played spoilsport on Sunday, the first weekend of the exhibition, booklovers could not visit the venue and purchase books. The rains had turned the YMCA grounds muddy, causing inconvenience to the visitors, particularly senior citizens. Fearing a poor turnout due to incessant rains, the organisers have declared a holiday to the fair.
On Sunday, Kathivakkam recorded the highest rainfall in Chennai for the day, with 69.3 mm recorded between 6 pm on January 7 and 6 am on January 8. It was followed by Uthandi which recorded 67.65 mm, Tondiarpet recorded 45 mm, Teynampet 43.2 mm, Ice House 41.7 mm, Tiruvottiyur 33.6 mm, Kodambakkam 42.9 mm, and Anna Nagar 36.3 mm.
The IMD forecast heavy rainfall in isolated areas of Chennai, Chengalpattu, and Kancheepuram districts on Monday, January 8. Authorities have declared a holiday on Monday in schools across Kallakurichi, Ranipet, Vellore, and Tiruvannamalai due to the adverse weather conditions.
The rain has resulted in traffic jams in many places in Chennai. The roads between the OMR IT Expressway and the World Trade Centre stretch has been affected by ankle-level water.
Responding to the sludge situation at the book fair venue, SK Murugan, BAPASI secretary, told The Hindu, “We will rectify the sludge situation soon as we are planning to bring in more sand to create better access for the public.”
This year’s book fair saw the School Education Department set up a stall with focus on their children’s magazines Oonjal and Thenchittu. Last year, Dalit-led publishers had alleged discrimination by the organisers of the Chennai Book Fair, in allocating stalls to them. Activist Grace Banu’s stall focussing on queer literature too was present in the current edition of the book fair.