Television

Arup Ghosh, Shireen quit Sahara Samay Rashtriya

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NEW DELHI: Star anchors Arup Ghosh and Shireen, who had quit NDTV almost three years back to join the Sahara group's television news venture, have left to pursue other assignments.

Arup Ghosh, head of Sahara Samay Rashtriya, the national news channel from the group, had built up the channel from the scratch, along with a team of professionals, including Shireen.

Shireen was initially touted to be the head of a NCR (national capital region of Delhi) news channel, a region specific channel that Sahara had promised would be launched, amongst other such channels.

However, despite two other region-specific channels being launched, the NCR fare is still to see the light of the day. Amongst those who have quit along with this duo, include Sahara Samay's sports editor Sundeep Misra and business editor Abhishek.

Contacted by indiantelevision.com, the editorial head of Sahara's media units (both print and electronic), Ambikanand Sahay, confirmed the development and said, "Departure of media unit heads should not hamper the functioning, but we have made some interim arrangements wherein Prabhat Dabral will hold additional charge of the national news channel also."

Dabral, who has a Doordarshan background, heads the regional forays of Sahara's news channels, which are present in states like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

When asked what made them quit, Ghosh said, "There always comes a time, when one has to move on in life. We felt this is the right time for us to look at other ventures."

However, he was quick to add that the Sahara experience was indeed 'enriching,' especially as the group's promoter, Subrata Roy, gave them a free hand to build up the national news channel from the scratch.

Both Ghosh and Shireen had quit NDTV at a time when it was still going strong with Star for the Star News channel.

The national news channel, which had created ripples when it debuted over a year back, now languishes almost at the bottom of the news channel heap. Quizzed on the likely changes in the national news channel content, Dabral said, "The effort would be to have more rapid fire news and also content with which the masses would relate to."

He, however, clarified that the changes had nothing to do with Ghosh and Shireen's style of running the national news channel.

The Sahara Group (which lays claim to being India's largest business house with an asset base of $ 10.98 billion) recently effected a corporate restructuring related to its media business and brought all the properties under a joint venture with Percept Finserve.

Though the functioning of the news channels --- not carrying the One brand name yet, unlike the entertainment channel --- have been kept outside the ambit of the corporate rejigg, the first signs of change in the news venture came when the technical head of Sahara's national news channel, Kamal, left for Times' TV venture few months back.

Later, another senior anchor, Sudhir Chowdhry, who had come from Zee TV, too left for Rajat Sharma's India TV.

The total news channel venture, envisaging 36-odd region specific channels was estimated to be costing between Rs 5-6 billion. Out of this, between Rs 3-4 billion have been already spent on setting up infrastructure and buying equipment for the up and running news channels.

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