Saradha Group: Anchoring a channel

Jul 21 2013, 18:29 IST
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SummaryAs chief reporter, administrator and de facto CEO, Deepankar Nag has ensured that the defunct Saradha Group’s channels, Tara Newz and Tara Muzik, stay on air


Deepankar Nag, 41 Chief Reporter, Secretary of the Tara TV Employees’ Welfare Association Routine: Starts the day around 10 am with calls to district correspondents, wraps up 12 hours later, after the prime time show

TARA Newz and Tara Muzik are the only two surviving TV channels of the defunct Saradha Group’s media business that once also constituted three other channels, an FM radio and four dailies. And if these two channels have so far weathered the storm, a large part of the credit must go to Deepankar Nag, 41.

He is the chief reporter and secretary of the Tara TV Employees’ Welfare Association, which has been entrusted the responsibility of running the two channels by the Calcutta High Court. With uncertainty now a constant part of the lives of the 168 employees of the two Tara TV channels, Nag as the de facto CEO provides that modicum of calm.

After the Saradha Group went bust following the chit fund scam and its media groups started shutting down, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced on May 22 her decision to take over the Tara TV channels. However, since the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has ruled that no state government can run a TV channel, that can only happen if she promulgates an ordinance or Bill in this regard.

In the meantime, the Mamata government is paying the salaries of the 168 Tara channel employees from the Chief Minister’s relief fund.

Nag is proud of the arrangement they have arrived at regarding that money — all the employees of Tara TV, from editors to peons, currently get the same salary—Rs 16,000 every month. “I lose Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 every month. At the same time, there are people who gain

Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000. But I had to accept it because my purpose was to run the channel,” Nag says.

Apart from the Tara channels, a Bengali daily and an Urdu daily are the only functional outfits from Saradha’s media empire now.

Nag, who lives in Rajarhat with his wife and a college-going daughter, spends a full day of work at the channels, notwithstanding their dwindling fortunes and shaky standing. His day starts with a morning walk at a nearby park, and after he is back, he starts calling his district correspondents to fix the day’s schedule for them. He is in office between 11.30 am and 12 noon when

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