Bengal to acquire two closed Saradha TV channels

Kolkata, May 23 (IANS) In the wake of the shutting down of media houses owned by the scam-tainted Saradha Group and leaving hundreds of employees jobless, the West Bengal government Thursday announced it would acquire two of the closed TV channels.

“We have decided to acquire Tara Muzik and Tara News and, on grounds of humanity, will give ex-gratia payment of Rs.16,000 each to the 168 employees of the two channels for the month of May,” Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee told media persons here.

Banerjee said last month she had paid Rs.26 lakh – sale proceeds of her paintings – to the two channels.

“The employees of the channels were up against tough times but I am happy that their bad days are now gone,” she said.

The two Bengali channels were bought by the Saradha Group in 2011, but were facing hard times since the management served closure notices just before the Bengali New Year Day, April 15, allegedly without giving salaries pending for the past three months.

While the state celebrated the Bengali New Year, anchors and independent artists of Tara Muzik wept profusely on the day as they announced the closure of the channel.

The “teary spectacle” not only moved viewers across Bengal but made its chief minister “take notice for the first time” of the multi-crore-rupee Saradha Group chit fund scam.

Banerjee has repeatedly claimed that she came to know of the scam only after inquiring about it, following the Tara Muzik programme.

The employees of the channels had later resolved to stay on air, as a mark of protest against such shady firms.

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