Amid the recent controversy surrounding the allocation of ‘sole rights’ to a private channel for telecasting Gurbani kirtan from the Golden Temple’s sanctum sanctorum, the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has made an unexpected appeal to PTC to continue the service until its plans for launching its own satellite channel materialize.
The SGPC had previously initiated the process of obtaining permission from the Centre, a procedure that may take approximately 2-3 months to complete, according to Gurcharan Singh Grewal, the General Secretary of SGPC.
Originally, the SGPC had planned to launch its own YouTube channel on July 24, immediately after the 11-year-old ‘irrevocable’ agreement with G Next Media Private Limited, the company that owns PTC channels, expired. However, to ensure uninterrupted Gurbani kirtan for the devotees, Gurcharan Singh Grewal stated that they would approach the PTC management to extend their services temporarily as a stop-gap measure.
In response to various representations received at the Akal Takht secretariat, expressing concerns that the YouTube channel’s reach might be limited due to not everyone having access to the internet or Android-driven TVs and mobile phones, Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Raghbir Singh directed the SGPC to consider hiring the services of ‘any’ satellite channel.
Taking into account the sentiments of the Sikh community and adhering to the Akal Takht’s orders, the SGPC decided to appeal to G Next Media to continue broadcasting Gurbani beyond the agreement.
Under the previous agreement signed on July 24, 2012, the company had been broadcasting Gurbani from the Golden Temple at no cost; in fact, it shared the responsibility of contributing to the SGPC’s education fund, paying nearly Rs 2 crore annually.
According to Gurcharan Singh Grewal, the plan to start the Gurbani broadcast on the SGPC’s YouTube channel from July 24 was changed after the demand from the ‘Sangat,’ and the Jathedar’s directive to broadcast on a satellite channel to reach a wider audience. However, he clarified that this arrangement would only be in place until the SGPC successfully launches its own satellite channel.
The SGPC has already initiated the process of obtaining permission from the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for their satellite channel. However, this administrative process is time-consuming and may take 2-3 months to complete the required formalities.
In the meantime, the SGPC will commence Gurbani broadcast on July 24 through its YouTube/web channel, with the services of a New Delhi firm being hired for this purpose at a monthly cost of Rs 12 lakh.