CHENNAI: With just a day left for the 46th Chennai Book Fair to begin, writer and founder of Chennai-based publication Salt, Naran alleged that the Booksellers and Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI) didn't even provide them with a form to apply for their stall at the book fair this year.
He took to his social media platform and wrote, "Violent condemnations to the BAPASI system. They refused to give a stall to Salt publishing house at the Chennai Book Fair 2023. As the International Book Fair is also held along with it, it cannot be given to newcomers it seems. In the last 10 days, I went there multiple times to get the application form, but I was denied eventually. Allowed to members only. But, they have given stalls to many non-members/their close-circle ones. If asked, I must have traveled with them for 15 years. Only those 400 people who are members of more than 900 stalls will be allowed. Not everyone has the same justice."
"Yesterday, BAPASI also gave a stall to a one-year-old publisher that has published only 15 books. It has been asked several times to give stalls in a democratic way by giving the application for non-members. They do not follow any sort of guidelines that can be used by newcomers to the publication field. Those who are in charge of BAPASI, register the same publisher under different names so that those in their close circle can reap all the benefits. They refuse to add anyone as a new member,” he added.
Naran also questioned why a newcomer can't be a member. "Shouldn't we (newcomer) put a stall there? There is no transparency. How can this be a proper system? Why should they take money from the government to give to their close ones? Did our Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin give crores of aid to this organisation just so that these organizations could loot?"
He also allegedly condemned BAPASI secretary SK Murugan for being disrespectful towards those seeking application forms.
The book fair is set to begin from January 6 till January 22 at YMCA Grounds near Nandanam in Chennai. Chief Minister MK Stalin is set to inaugurate the event at 5:30 pm and School Education Minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi is also set to take part in the event. The fair would be open from 11 am to 9 pm.