I&B secretary can chair FTII, say students

New Delhi, Oct 4 (IANS) FTII students on strike for over 100 days have told the government that the information and broadcasting ministry secretary can be the chairman of the prestigious film institute instead of actor and BJP member Gajendra Chauhan, informed sources said.

The government, holding talks with the students of the Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), is expected to get back to the students during their next round of talks in Mumbai on October 7.

The students and the government have so far held two meetings to end the dragging deadlock over the students’ opposition to Chauhan.

The difference of opinion on the chairman’s role in the FTII is the bone of contention between the students and the government.

According to the sources, the ministry feels that the FTII chairman plays a mere administrative role. The students believe the person holding the chair in FTII has immense power.

They feel the ministry secretary fits all parameters. He is more suitable to be a facilitator between the government and the institute and also more qualified to hold the chairman’s post.

Such an appointment has a precedence in Anwar Jamal Kidwai and S.M.H. Burney, who held the post of the ministry secretary and chaired the FTII and its governing council in the 1970s.

Sunil Arora, a 1980-batch IAS officer of the Rajasthan cadre, is the current secretary in the ministry.

Over 250 FTII students have been on strike for over some three months against the appointment of Chauhan, best known for essaying the eldest of the Pandava brothers in B.R. Chopra’s “Mahabharat”, as the FTII chairman.

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