New FTII director hints at crackdown on ragging, alcoholism

Pune: After witnessing a prolonged unrest, Film And Television Institute of India may be revamped as its new director Bhupendra Kainthola on Friday hinted towards a crackdown on ragging and alcoholism on the campus.

Spelling out his pro-student measures to improve atmosphere on the campus after the scene of 139-day-long strike on the issue of chairmanship of TV actor Gajendra Chauhan drew nought, Kainthola said he would have a "zero tolerance" policy for rampant ragging and alcoholism in the premiere institute.

"Although I have not received official complaints of ragging, during my interaction with students, particularly females, I have perceived it is happening and they are scared to go on record to say it. Actually, it has resulted in a decline in the number of female students seeking admission to FTII," he told PTI here.

Kainthola, who succeeded Prashant Pathrabe recently, said alcoholism too was taking toll on the health of the students and that he had also "heard" of instances of drug abuse on the campus.

"We are going to have a zero tolerance policy for all this. If necessary we will rope in institutions such as Alcoholic Anonymous and de-addiction therapists," he said.

Outlining his priorities, the FTII director said a revision of the three-year syllabus was underway and he would ensure that the students completed their three year course without spilling over the prescribed timeline.

"We are recruiting new faculty members and we shall also approach famous film industry personalities to interact with the students as visiting faculty in order to impart practical experience for the would-be industry professionals being trained at the FTII," he added.

Asked whether the FTII management had any plans to withdraw the cases filed against a group of students booked in connection with the gherao of former director Pathrabe during the heated atmosphere of the strike against Chauhan's appointment, Kainthola said any decision in the matter would be taken after due deliberations.

During the strike, some students had barged into his office of Pathrabe in August last year, objecting to his decision on assessment of 2008 batch projects.

"The matter at present is sub-judice," he added. He said the FTII management was committed to making the institute a centre of academic excellence and there would be no budgetary constraints in procuring necessary equipment and providing necessary facilities to the students to pursue their goals.

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