With the postponement of the inter-college youth festival of Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) from October to November due to holy book sacrilege, students as well as several professors are unhappy as they feel performers would find it hard to practice next month due to severe chill.
Moreover, they say postponement was not required because youth festival is an internal activity of the institution.
The critics say it will cost dearer to each college of the university as the mentors or trainers hired for preparing plays, skits, dance and music will have to be paid for more weeks.
As per PAU youth festival norms, every college here gets a grant of Rs 1.50 lakh each year for youth fest preparations but this year, it is going to cost more, pointed out several professors.
The students said such an announcement came as a shock for them as they were all set to perform and were fully prepared for giving their final performances by end of this month.
“Our classes were suspended for several weeks so that we could practice well. We used to get up early and practise till late night but we never knew that the fest schedule will be disturbed. Also there are students who have planned to back out in frustration,”said a group of students outside the department of College of Basic Sciences (CBS), who did not wish to be named.
Another group of students who will participate mainly in skits and plays questioned, “Just imagine, how will we continue our practice session followed by performance in chillier days? Audience too will find it difficult to sit for hours. It is going to be very tough as majority of the youth festival events are organised in open air theatre.”
However, some students, who are not participating, justified the postponement as the desecration issue is still not settled and it can take time for peace to return to the state. “Had the youth festival not been postponed to November, residents would have thought that the PAU is least bothered about current state of Punjab,”said Gurpreet Singh, a student.
While HT spoke to officials and shared what students opined, they said students should be positive and keep their zeal high.
“Students should not worry at all. They should be happy that they will get more time to practise. For financial concern, I would like to clarify that most of the varsity colleges have suspended their practice sessions which will begin after Diwali. Mentors have also been given holidays to avoid expenditure but they will join back after Diwali,”informed MS Toor, one of the professors responsible for youth festival management.