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Sahara One on lay off binge, more to follow

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MUMBAI: The axe is being wielded at Sahara One Media and Entertainment. The loss-making entertainment vehicle of the Sahara Group has already issued pink slips to 17 senior employees in February and the head chopping is expected to continue in March with another 18 employees being laid off. Sahara One Media employs around 150 employees with most of them being concentrated in Mumbai.

Among those who have been asked to resign include:  Delna Deshpande (operations head), Sharad Raj (programming head and creative), Rajeev Berry (head of revenue), Bakulish Baggade part of the distribution team), Piyush Ratnu (head of IT & digital), Kailashnath Koppikar (programming and international syndication), Ashish Mathur and Saroj Jha (ad sales), and Baludutt Papne (commercial executive)

Says a senior executive who has been asked to put in his papers. “We have been told that executives who were earning in excess of Rs 3 lakh a month were targeted first; followed by those in the Rs 1 lakh a month range. I was told ‘put in your resignation. 28 February is your last date.’ When I asked them to let me continue for a couple of months or at least till  March end so that I could find another job, I was told February layoffs cannot be extended to March as more blood is going to flow next month."

Sahara’s television business operates three television channels - Sahara One Television, a Hindi general entertainment channel; Filmy, a Hindi movie channel and Firangi, a world television channel in Hindi.

According to sources, the Sahara management is resorting to downsizing as it is readying to hand over the running of the GEC to Entertainment Hub, which produces shows for it. Just a little less than a month ago indiantelevision.com had reported that Entertainment Hub - which is part of Bombay stock exchange listed Trilogic Digital Media (the producer of Mickey Virus) - will be looking after Filmy’s content scheduling, distribution and also revenue generation in a joint venture.

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