Cyclone Amphan wipes out Asia’s largest book market, College Street, in Kolkata

As West Bengal and Odisha assess the damage and destruction caused by Cyclone Amphan Asia’s largest book market, pictures of a ravaged College Street in Kolkata are breaking hearts.

College Street, or Boi Para as it is locally called, is considered to be among the largest book markets in Asia. The area derives its name from the colleges and universities in the vicinity.

While it is too soon to make estimates, books worth at least Rs 50 lakh-60 lakh have been destroyed in the cyclone, the Times of India reported.

Here are some photographs of College Street after the cyclone.

Kolkata’s historic College Street, Asia’s largest book marke ..

Kolkata: A day after Cyclone Amphan Asia’s largest book market made landfall in West Bengal, residents of Kolkata’s College Street area woke up seeing pages of different books strewn all around the waterlogged road. Books of nursery rhymes to algorithms, civil service examinations to Albert Camus lay scattered throughout the lanes; so many of them drowned, wet and torn.

Municipal workers informed the book-sellers who were already in distress due to the continuous lockdown. The roadside stall owners rushed to the spot and were seen picking up wet books. Few of them have decided to dry the pages and sell them at a second hand price.

“Books are not essential items, so my shop was closed for the last 50 days. We cannot even provide home delivery services because people used to come here, check out the books, sit and read the preface and hunt for treasures at a throwaway price,” said one book-seller outside the gate of Calcutta University building. He’s been selling old and new books for the last 30 years.

Most of the roadside stall owners are completely shattered. Most of them used to earn a few thousand rupees selling books in these times of e-books. In spite of all obstacles, they continued to sell hard copies with a small profit margin but now after coronavirus pandemic and cyclone, they may rethink their options. Few of them have already decided to sell the shops and open a grocery store instead.

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