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'Gurbani is for all': Bhagwant Mann's free broadcast rights bill set to become law Bhagwant Mann
Image credit: Bhagwant Mann Facebook

'Gurbani is for all': Bhagwant Mann's free broadcast rights bill set to become law

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 20 Jun 2023, 10:32 pm

Chandigarh/IBNS: The free broadcast of Gurbani, Sikh religious hymns, is set to become law in Punjab with the state assembly clearing the bill introduced by the Bhagwant Mann government Tuesday.

"Gurbani is for all and I want to ensure that everyone can hear and see it on any channel they like," Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said before the Sikh Gurdwaras (Amendment) Bill, 2023, was passed.

The bill adds a section in the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925, to make the broadcast of Gurbani free for all.

Mann said the bill also has a clause that no channel airing Gurbani can run any advertisements half an hour before or after it airs.

The broadcast rights have been exclusive to the PTC network, owned by the politically powerful Badal family, since 2007.

The network pays the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) - which administers the Harmandir Sahib - Rs. 2 crore annually for this.

Speaking in the Assembly after tabling the bill, Mann attacked the Badals and said he runs no channel of his own. "I am not asking for the telecast rights to be given to my channel. So why do the Badals have a problem?"

Stating that the same channel, PTC Simran, has been airing Gurbani for 11 years and the contract between the SGPC and the PTC Network expires in July 2023, Mann said the organisation should not oppose the move.

"I am not stopping the channel from airing Gurbani, all I am saying is that every channel should have the right to do so," he said.

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