Tara News, Muzik, South Asia TV closing down

The Tara group of channels, popular in both Bangladesh and India's Bengali-populated areas specially for their music offerings, are closing down.

Kolkata Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 16 April 2013, 10:57 PM
Updated : 17 April 2013, 02:20 AM

General Manager Indrajit Roy says the owners, Saradha Group, are no longer willing to fund these three channels.

Saradha bought these channels from the Broadcast Worldwide (BWW), a public limited company set up in 1999 by Rathikanta Basu, a former chief of India's state-owned Doordarshan.

The first channel to be launched by BWW was TARA in the Bengali language on the 28th of April, 2000. From its inception, TARA (Television Aimed at Regional Audiences) was designed to reach regional audiences in West Bengal and Bangladesh.

TARA Newz was the first 24x7 Bengali news channel, a pioneer in covering Bengali news on a trans-border format to include developments in Bangladesh and Bengali areas of India.

TARA Muzik was launched amid great fanfare in Kolkata in the presence of the icons of Bengali music from both sides of the border with the avowed mission of preserving the traditional genres of Bengali music.
TV Southasia was formed with the "objective to address the common issues of the southasian region". This was the last of the Tara channels that was formally launched on April 19, 2008.
Tara's newscasters were in tears when they first announced on 14th April, the Bangla New Year, that the channel was closing down.
Anindita Kazi, grand-daughter of national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, who has been with the Tara TV from its inception, appealed to all to come forward to save the channel.
The employees have locked themselves up in the studio and offices of Tara in Kolkata's Salt Lake, refusing to stop the transmission. They demand an explanation from the owners about the sudden closure notice.
On Apr 14, top music icons appeared on Tara Muzik without remuneration to do a final goodbye programme.
General Manager Indrajit Ray told the employees that the management has asked him to issue the closure notice but not given any reason.
It was not clear whether the channels were suffering losses or have they been closed down for some other consideration.
Saradha Group recently closed down its two English newspapers, Bengal Post published from Kolkata and Seven Sisters Post published from Guwahati.
Persistent losses was said to be the reason for closing them down.
But all the employees of these papers and the Tara group of channels have not been paid salaries for several months.
Neither Saradha's chairman-cum-managing director Sudipta Sen nor its CEO Kunal Ghose, a Rajya Sabha MP of Trinamul Congress that rules West Bengal, was available for comment.
The employees union at Saradha is also controlled by Trinamul Congress and the employees are said to be approaching Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for a way out to save the channels.
Saradha is a chit fund company. Recently, the Indian government has moved strongly against these companies after allegations that defraud investors on a large scale. The state governments have been asked to come up with tougher action against them because tens of thousands of people have lost their life's savings to such companies.
Saradha has of course stridently denied both in Assam and West Bengal that any depositors has lost money saved with the company.
Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher