FTII needs Rs 5 crore to clear backlog, says expert group

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Manisha Rege

Mumbai, Jan 28 (PTI) A group of experts entrusted withthe task of preparing a detailed report on revitalisation andupgradation of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII)has recommended that the country''s premier movie school holdback fresh admissions till the current backlog of academic andproject work is cleared.

The panel has said the Government should set aside abudget of Rs 5 crore to clear the backlog which hasaccumulated since 2005.

Talking to PTI, P K Nair, Chairman of the group, saidthe amount should be utilised to procure equipment and appointpersonnel like supervisors and mentors to guide the studentsto pass out on scheduled time.

"Manpower should be hired on a contractual basis for aperiod of 16 months," he said, adding the Pune-based instituteneeds additional resources to clear the work backlog.

Nair, a former Director of National Film Archives ofIndia (NFAI), said FTII had collected fees from students forthe academic year 2010, but asked them to wait for ten monthsfor the new classes to begin. "We have suggested that thefresh admissions should not take place for at least a year."

Nair said situation at FTII, an autonomous body underthe I&B Ministry and fully aided by the Centre, starteddeteriorating since 1997 because the directors "meddled" withthe syllabus and followed their own "agendas".

The group, comprising Shaji Karun, Jabeen Merchant,Kundan Shah, Nachiket Patwardhan, Chandita Mukherjee and HansaThapliyal, submitted an interim report to the FTII''s GoverningCouncil at a meeting on January 25. .

The final report will be ready in one month''s time, Nair said.

Panel member Mukherjee said the group was appointed inNovember 2010 by the Governing Council, chaired by notedlitterateur U R Ananthmurthy.

Mukherjee said given the crisis situation in FTII,suggestions for its privatisation have come from variousquarters, including corporates.

She, however, opposed privatisation. "It should not bedone. FTII is situated in a prime locality, where the realestate prices are very high. Our report includes an outline ofhow to remodel the building and space of the campus and tocreatively develop an extra 36 acres owned by the institute."

Currently, Mukherjee said, there are five batches onthe campus instead of the stipulated three. The normal term ofa three-year course gets extended up to six years. "This iscausing problem of accommodation for the students who comefrom all parts of the country."

Lack of faculty, equipment and "uncaring" policy onpart of the government is to be blamed for the school''s woes,she said. "It''s sad the Information and Broadcasting Ministrytreats institutes like FTII just as a government department."

Nair said bureaucrats are appointed as short-termdirectors who are not familiar with the working of theinstitute, founded in 1960.

Mukherjee said the final report will take into accountthe changes to be made in the organisational status of FTIIfor its effective functioning and to strengthen its positionas a centre of excellence in the field of cinema and TV.

The Governing Council will submit the report to thegovernment with its own suggestions.

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