Vinod Dua to head all Sahara news operations

NEW DELHI: In a swift and major reshuffle of work responsibilities, the Subrata Roy-promoted diversified Sahara India group has brought in ace TV personality Vinod Dua as a consultant and co-ordinator of all proposed news operations, including the various state-specific news channels.

The independent heads of the proposed news channels like Prabhat Dabral, Arup Ghosh and Rajiv Bajaj will now report to Dua who, according to company sources, will also be co-ordinating the financial and other aspects of the up and coming news channels. Dua, in turn, will report to the promoter family and Sumit Roy, in particular, who is the head of Sahara groups entire media and entertainment activities.

Confirming the move, when contacted, Dua told, "Yes, I have been entrusted with co-ordinating the work and putting in place the infrastructure for the seven (proposed) news channels at least."

However, Dua also added that "it was an honorary post" which is the reason as to why he would not like to specify any designation.

Though Dua insisted that his was an honorary responsibility, TV industry sources indicated that he will receive a hefty remuneration packet which equals the pay packet of any other CEO of media companies like Zee Telefilms.

The changes that were effected on Monday were the result of a meeting on Saturday in Lucknow of the bigwigs from Sahara group.

Though the exact reason for the move to bring in Dua over Ghosh, Dabral and Bajaj, effectively curtailing the powers of the three up to a certain extent, is not immediately known, but Sahara insiders indicate that there was resentment amongst the employees of Sahara over the functioning style of the various channel heads.

A source went to the extent of saying that "differences also existed between various channel heads" who had powers to recruit too.

While Dabral, a former Doordarshan reporter, is the head of news channels meant for Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Bihar, Ghosh, a former NDTV star anchor, is the head of the proposed national channel. Bajaj, a former print medium journalist, is the head for the Mumbai news channel.

Dua --- one of the first products of Indian television news along with Prannoy Roy during the good old days of Doordarshan --- in recent times has been doing news and current affairs (N&CA) shows for Sahara channel which, at present, is a mish-mash of entertainment and N&CA programming.

The three channels which are expected to first get off the block from the Sahara stable early next year (Republic Day, 26 January?) include the Sahara Samay UP, Sahara Samay Mumbai and Sahara Samay national.

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