M A I N   N E W S

Zonal Cultural Centres in for a revamp: PM
Inaugurates silver jubilee celebrations at Panchkula with Sonia
Yoginder Gupta/TNS

Panchkula, April 13
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said that the country’s seven Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs) would be revamped to keep pace with new technologies and sources of entertainment.

The Prime Minister was speaking after inaugurating ‘Maati Ke Rang’, a four-day cultural extravaganza being organised at the Parade Ground here to mark the silver jubilee celebrations of the Zonal Cultural Centres conceived by late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1985. The North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC) inaugurated by Gandhi in Patiala on November 6, 1985 was the country’s first ZCC. Therefore, it was most appropriate that the North Zone host the silver jubilee celebrations.

Earlier, Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi jointly inaugurated the show by beating the drums.

The PM said the Union Ministry of Culture was examining the report of the Mani Shankar Iyar committee set up to review the functioning of the ZCCs and to suggest measures to revamp them. The committee, he said, found the ZCCs had so far been urban area-centric and had suggested that at least 70% of its activities be in villages, small towns and urban slums.

The centres should pay special attention to folk arts on the verge of extinction, he said. They should also improve their production and presentation skills to being them in sync with television to showcase the country’s unity in diversity.

Sonia Gandhi said Rajiv Gandhi had conceived the ZCCs to strengthen the country’s unity. The centres provided an opportunity to thousands of artistes to keep their skills alive as well as earn a livelihood, she said. Since many art forms were on the verge of extinction, it was necessary to provide them state protection and the ZCCs were set up to achieve this objective, she said.

Sonia expressed happiness that after some sluggishness, the centres had become active once again. The centres should be flexible and adapt to changing times to keep in tune with changing cultural demands, she said, adding that the hard work of folk artistes must be respected and honoured.

Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said it was a challenge for the ZCCs to preserve art forms on the verge of extinction.

Union Cultural Minister Selja said it was the joint responsibility of all citizens to preserve and conserve the country’s culture. Without state patronage, art forms could not survive, she said.

Selja, who represents the Ambala Lok Sabha constituency of which Panchkula is a part, urged the Prime Minister to sanction a rail link between Yamunanagar and Chandigarh via Sadhaura. She also requested him to open the proposed innovation university in Ambala.

Others present included Punjab Governor Shiv Raj Patil, UP Governor BL Joshi and Union Parliamentary Minister Pawan Bansal.





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