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RTI revelation: Gajendra Chauhan yet to attend FTII office

Several months since his controversial appointment as the FTII chairman, BJP member and television personality Gajendra Chauhan is yet to visit his office, a RTI query revealed here on Monday.

Gajendra Chauhan
Gajendra Chauhan

There is a lack of clarity even on the actual date of appointment of Chauhan as the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) chief, said Mumbai-based RTI activist Anil Galgali.

While the FTII list of appointments to the august post shows the date as March 4, 2014 to March 3, 2017, another date provided is June 9, 2015 on which he was actually appointed, Galgali said.

"Whichever may be the date of appointment, he has not yet visited the Pune FTII office to take charge or meet with the institute officials and students. Though the appointment has been made, the institution remains virtually headless and mired in avoidable controversies," Galgali told IANS.

The situation was similar with other past chairpersons with former BJP union minister and actor Vinod Khanna, who held the position twice, attending it only two times, once in each term.

BJP MP Pawan Chopra, who had the shortest term of of three months, attended the FTII office only once and that too on the final day of his brief tenure.

However, Saeed Mirza, who was the chairman for three years, made it to the office 20 times. Girish Karnad in his one year term attended six times, U.R. Ananthamurthy, who was appointed thrice, attended office 26 times in a period of eight years.

In the past 15 years, FTII has had nine persons holding the exalted position of one of the premier institutes of its kind in Asia, including eminent personalities like Shyam Benegal, Mrinal Sen and R.K. Laxman.

Galgali had also sought information about the educational qualifications and other eligibility details for the chairman's position.

The students of the premier institute have been on strike for over 100 days, with four meeetings between them and officials of the information and broadcasting ministry being inconclusive.

The students are tentatively scheduled to meet Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore in New Delhi on Tuesday.

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