Tope pushing for new art institutes

Even though the post of director for the Directorate of Arts is lying vacant, the state's higher and technical education ministry, headed by Rajesh Tope, is planning to start new colleges in the city, Nashik and Amravati. The director's post that handles administration of four art colleges in the state -- JJ School of Applied Arts and JJ School of Fine Arts, Mumbai, Government School of Art, Aurangabad, and Government Drawing College in Nagpur -- has not been filled up since 2004-05 as the ministry failed to find an eligible candidate for the post.

Rajesh Tope, state's higher and technical education minister  
Due to this, state art fraternity has been in disarray and is being blamed for not producing resourceful artists. The proposal to start new colleges in the state has received flak from experts and representatives from the arts fraternity who say it's completely uncalled for. The timing and credibility of the proposal is being questioned as academic activities have come to a near-halt at the colleges due to the lack of teaching staff and the governing authority.

"Instead of appointing a full-time director, the ministry has been appointing standing directors who are not from the fraternity but belong to a non-art background and are unable to take decisions pertaining to the subject. We had written to the Higher and Technical Education Minister, Rajesh Tope, requesting him repeatedly to look into the matter before starting new colleges," said a senior representative from arts fraternity.

On the other hand, Higher and Technical Education Department and Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) are already in the process of appointing a new director. Rajesh Tope said, "We have given the requisition to the MPSC to fill in the post and it'll be done by next month."

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