Eight years after the Rajya Marathi Vikas Sanstha (RMVS) was formed, the apex body for development of the Marathi language is yet to get a full-time director and deputy director. Minister for the Marathi language department Vinod Tawde has now assured that the vacant posts would be filled soon.
Since 2009, no one has been appointed on a permanent basis for a post that entails overseeing the promotion of the language across the state. This prompted Anand Bhandare, a resident of Worli (Mumbai) and activist with the Marathi Abhyas Kendra (a non-governmental organisation working to preserve Marathi language), to file a series of applications under the Right to Information Act to find out reasons for the non-appointment of a full-time director at the RMVS. Having been denied information, he approached the state information commissioner after which he got to know that the file on the shortlisted candidates was missing. An FIR was soon registered in this regard.
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The process to fill the director’s post was initiated by the Congress-NCP government. A regulatory committee headed by the then education minister Rajendra Darda was formed with experts in the field Dr Gangadhar Pantavne, Vijaya Rajadhyaksha, Dutta Bhagat and Yashwant Pathak as members.
This committee was expected to recommend names for the top post and submit them to the state government. “An advertisement inviting applications for the post was published in newspapers in 2013. However, the Congress-NCP government dissolved and the BJP-led new government revoked the entire selection process initiated by the previous government and the names recommended by the committee were submitted to Tawde, the new education minister,” added Bhandare.
The Marathi Bhasha Kendra has alleged that Tawde appointed a candidate of his choice as the director, overruling the five-member committee’s recommendations. One Anand Katikar was then appointed as a temporary director in August 2015.
“All we wanted to know was whose names were recommended and on what basis the temporary director was selected; whether the name of Katikar who was appointed on temporary basis figured in the committee’s list. However, the way things are functioning seems fishy as there is no transparency,” said Professor Deepak Pawar of Marathi Abhyas Kendra.
“Ironically, the state government celebrated the Marathi Bhasha Diwas in a grand way last month, but the committee that was formed to preserve the language continues to operate without a permanent director. The government does not seem to be concerned about the post. The committee members who recommended the names of eligible candidates for the post do not wish to come forward and reveal the names they shortlisted in the missing file,” added Bhandare.
Tawde refuted the allegations levelled by the Marathi Abhyas Kendra. He said, “As soon as the matter of the missing file came to light, the department registered an FIR. Meanwhile, the department has also initiated the process of restructuring the file.”