The Punjab Youth Festival for the year 2013-2014 kicked off on December 23. In the first phase, competitions have started in 55,200 neighbourhoods and villages where competitors will take part in over 300 events in 29 different categories. This phase will be complete by February ‘14 when the successful competitors in preliminary rounds will qualify for provincial level contests.
As per the schedule announced so far, there will be attempts at setting up new world records in 25 different categories. The schedule says there will be games between different sports teams from Pakistani Punjab and Indian Punjab aside from a film festival, a youth theater festival, a jeep rally, a book fair, an IT fair, a shopping festival, an art and craft festival, a horse and cattle show, a tattoo show, an international freestyle wrestling competition, a paragliding championship and so on.
The organisers are expecting the participation of 6.5 million individuals in the festival which, if it so happens, will be a new world record. The existing record is of 3.2 million participants, recorded in the Punjab Youth Festival (PYF) of 2012. This feat was also acknowledged by the Guinness Book of World Record last year.
Given this backdrop, an encouraging development is that the Punjab government has announced to hold a one-week Basant festival at Changa Manga Forests or Jallo Forest Park — yet to be finalised — as part of the festival.
It also plans to start special trains to carry passengers to the finalised venue.
This was an afterthought and that is why basant festival was not mentioned in the PYF schedule printed before this decision was made.
TNS talked to stakeholders this week and sought their feedback on the development.
Khalid Malik, President of Kite Lovers Association, welcomes the announcement and hopes the government will also find a way to extend the duration and make kite-flying a year-long activity.