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CM Rawat never told me he was planning to disband film council: Hemant Pande

The then Harish Rawat government had in 2016 set up the 25-member UFDC to encourage filmmakers to shoot their movies in the state and also help flourish the local cinema.

dehradun Updated: Feb 11, 2018 21:29 IST
Deep Joshi
Deep Joshi
Hindustan Times, Dehradun
Uttarakhand news,Hemant Pande,Uttarakhand Film Development Council
Hemant Pandey.(Vinay Santosh Kumar/HT PHOTO)

The sudden move by the state government to disband the Uttarakhand Film Development Council (UFDC) has come as a shock to Bollywood actor Hemant Pande who was also the vice-chairman of the organization.

“I am shocked over the way the government disbanded the council without intimating me or other members,” Pande said.

The then Harish Rawat government had in 2016 set up the 25-member UFDC to encourage filmmakers to shoot their movies in the state and also help flourish the local cinema. Pande, who was anemd vice-chairman along with Tigmanshu Dhulia, is considered close to the former CM.

“A body such as the council should be kept away from politics,” Pande said

Speaking over phone from Mumbai, Pandey said he was shocked that the state government didn’t inform him about its decision to disband the council.

“Surprisingly, even chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat did not give me any indication of his decision when I met him at his office on January 17. In fact, he agreed to attend a function that was soon to be organised to felicitate actors and film makers from the remote areas of the state,” the actor said.

Refuting media reports that the UFDC was disbanded because it failed to carry out its mandate to develop facilities for shooting of films in the region, Pande said, “There is no substance in such reports because we did all that we could to carry out the mandate of the council.” He, however, added that there were many things the council could not do owing to the fund crunch.

Pande claimed that under his stewardship he ensured a number of changes in the film policy to create a conducive atmosphere for film shooting in the state. “In fact, under my tenure a number of film makers chose to shoot their films in the region,” he said. “As a result, revenue of about Rs 30 lakh was generated during my tenure.”

The actor, however, thanked the CM for his decision not to charge fee from film makers for shooting their films in the state. “It is also a great gesture that film makers who would stay in government guest houses while shooting their films would be charged only 50% of accommodation charges,” he added.

Sudharshan Shah, a film maker and former member of the council, blamed the officials for not letting the body continue. “I think the chief executive officer of the council, Pankaj Pandey, was behind the CM’s decision to disband the body,” he alleged. Shah also blamed Pandey for rejecting his proposal under which he had suggested that a film city should be set up at Patwadangar, a scenic spot near Nainital. “It was a Rs 500-crore proposal, which was duly passed by the council but according to reports CEO unilaterally rejected the proposal,” Shah said. “The film city proposal was aimed to facilitate shooting of films in the Kumaon region.” CEO Pandey dubbed the allegations as baseless. “Disbanding the council is the CM’s prerogative. Such a decision was taken because he wanted to make a fresh beginning in the light of a change film policy that is on the anvil.”

The official also refuted the allegation that he rejected the film city proposal. “It is still in a discussion stage,” he said alleging that those who were pushing for the film city project had their eyes on the acres of land on which they proposed it should be set up. “Besides, they did not facilitate any investments for the project”, the CEO said.

First Published: Feb 11, 2018 21:28 IST