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Badungar: S.G.P.C. to Launch T.V. Channel in Apr. 2004


The Times of India, Patiala (Punjab, India), May 19, 2003

"The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (S.G.P.C.) has decided to launch a television channel from Amritsar, which is likely to start functioning before Apr. 2004. At present, the project is at its initial stages. S.G.P.C. president Kirpal Singh Badungar on Saturday said the S.G.P.C. was committed to start this project before the given schedule, adding that the work had already been entrusted to noted Sikh scholar Dr. Darshan Singh of Chandigarh."
"When contacted, Dr. Darshan Singh said initially the channel would telecast programmes for eight hours everyday, but later it would be a 24-hour channel. Dr. Singh, however, added that the channel would not only telecast shabad gurbani [scared hymns] from the Golden Temple, but will also show serials, debates, discussions and musical programmes. Also, general news along with news on religious activities would be telecasted. Dr. Singh said the telecast would be digital and the studios would be equipped with latest gadgets, adding that services of professionals would be hired to run the channel."
"He said an estimate of Rs. two crore only was submitted to run the channel, but the S.G.P.C. had earmarked Rs. 14 crore for this project. Dr. Singh said the main studio, with uplinking facilities would be set up at Amritsar. Even as the S.G.P.C. had suggested that the studio and control room should be next to Akal Takhat Sahib, Dr. Singh is of the view that it should be outside the Golden Temple complex. Meanwhile, Badungar said money was no consideration for the project, adding that to produce quality programmes, the S.G.P.C. had also earmarked Rs 22 crore. He also added that the channel would not be a commercial venture as its prime object was to preach Sikh principles."
"Dr. Singh, however, said there should be no hesitation in accepting religiously as well as socially acceptable advertisements. At present, E.T.C. Punjabi is telecasting gurbani and shabad kirtan live from the Golden Temple. When asked about its future, Badungar said the S.G.P.C. had not signed an agreement with them for an unlimited period [i.e. the agreement has an expiry date]."