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Image: Actor Soumitra Chatterjee speaking at the inaugural programme with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and others seated on the dais. 

Kolkata: COUNTDOWN has come to an end for the annual gala that bibliophiles in Kolkata and beyond wait eagerly!

The 42nd edition of the Kolkata International Book Fair has been inaugurated this afternoon by ace actor Soumitra Chatterjee, in the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The fair, this time, is being held at Salt Lake’s Central Park as the usual venue Milan Mela on EM Bypass is undergoing a revamp. France is the theme country for this year’s book fair that will be open to the public from 31 January – 11 February.

The timing is 12-8 pm on weekdays and 12-9 pm on Sundays. The entry is free, organisers Publishers and Book Sellers Guild said.

There are some 580 book stalls and a large tent accommodating some 200-odd little magazines. Central Park being a new venue for the book fair, the state government has arranged for dedicated 175 shuttle bus services from different parts of Kolkata.

The buses will operate to the Central Park from Howrah station, Sealdah station, Ultadanga, Garia, Behala, and Shyambazar Mela Ground on all through the 12 days of the fair. Alongside the fair, the 5th Kolkata Literature Festival will be held at the venue from 8-10 February.

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