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Chief Minister's largesse to book publishing industry

Special Correspondent

Offers permanent site for Chennai Book Fair; gives Rs.1 cr. to honour writers



BOOK LOVER: Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi at the inauguration of the 30th Chennai Book Fair in Chennai on Wednesday. — Photo : M. Vedhan

CHENNAI: It was a double gift from Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi to the book publishing industry on Wednesday: an allotment of Rs. 1 crore out of his personal funds to honour five writers every year, and the promise of a permanent site for the Chennai Book Fair.

Responding to PWD Minister Durai Murugan's suggestion during the inauguration of the 30th Chennai Book Fair that one of two sites — near Ethiraj College or at Todhunter Nagar in Saidapet — could be allotted permanently to hold the annual fair, Mr. Karunanidhi said representatives of the Booksellers' and Publishers' Association of South India (BAPASI) could inspect both places and suggest a suitable one.

Infrastructure

The infrastructure for holding the fair could be shared by the Government and BAPASI, the Chief Minister said. The Rs. 1 crore allotment would be made out of his wife's share of money obtained from divesting her shares in the Sun TV network. From the interest accrued, five authors could be honoured every year with an award of Rs. 1 lakh each.

Interest obtained out of the deposit made in his wife's name was already being given to the poor and the sick and for educational needs of the underprivileged, Mr. Karunanidhi said.

Recalls G.O.

The Chief Minister recalled a December 26 G.O. last year which had stated that books, and not shawls or garlands, should be presented to dignitaries at government functions. Mr. Karunanidhi gave away the Best Writer award to author Prabanjan, the Best Publisher award to Prema Prasuram, Chennai; Best Children's Writer award to E.S. Hariharan and Best Book Seller award to Agathiyar Book Stall, Tiruchi.

Earlier, Mr. Durai Murugan said the long-pending demand of BAPASI for allotment of a permanent site for the fair, on the lines of Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, would be considered favourably. Both the sites suggested were owned by the PWD.

The Chief Minister also visited a few stalls at the exhibition, such as the Kalaignar Arivu Koodam which contains exhibits his literary works.

Gandhi Kannadasan, BAPASI president, said the response to the fair was growing every year.

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