Wednesday, March 8, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S
On the eve of the International Women's Day, women in uniform are ready to go on their job of garbage collection in Chennai on Tuesday. Solid waste management, privatised in some divisions of the Chennai city recently, has been entrusted to a Singapore firm. — PTI photo
On the eve of the International Women's Day, women in uniform are ready to go on their job of garbage collection in Chennai on Tuesday. Solid waste management, privatised in some divisions of the Chennai city recently, has been entrusted to a Singapore firm. — PTI photo

Himachal Futuristic enters e-commerce
Himachal Futuristic Communications Limited on Tuesday issued 10 per cent fresh equity to Kerry Packer promoted Consolidated Press Holding Limited of Australia, and announced two joint ventures with CPH, marking the company’s foray into information technology and e-commerce businesses.

ITC ties up with Denmark firm
CALCUTTA, March 7 —Close on the heels of its maiden foray in IT sector by tying up with Info Bank of the UK, ITC Limited through its wholly-owned software development subsidiary, ITC Infortech, has entered into a wide-ranging agreement with Expandit of Denmark for marketing its latest business application software.



EARLIER STORIES
 

Lloyd’s accused of duping investors
LONDON, March 7 — Lloyd’s of London, one of the most trusted names in insurance, duped investors by concealing 4 billion ($ 6.3 billion) in claims due to asbestos-related illnesses while reserving a tiny fraction of that amount to pay for them, a lawyer said.


Gordon Cambell Smith wearing an ancient Egyptian costume carries one of The Tutankhamum Treasures, a replica of "Goddess Selkit," at Aberdeen Exhibition Centre, Scotland, as part of the press launch on Monday, for the forthcoming exhibition, Tutankhamun and the Treasures of the Pharaohs exhibition , which will run from April 25 to May 21. — AP/PTI

Sell shares, get cash same day
BANGALORE, March 7 — Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited today introduced value-added service called “Sell-n-Cash” in Bangalore to enable its account holder to realise proceeds from the sale of securities on the same day.

Banking on Internet
MUMBAI, March 7 — Tata Infotech has signed an agreement with US-based Solutions Net International to market their ENet, a corporate Internet banking product in India.

‘Panic sales of Reliance unwarranted’
NEW DELHI, March 7 — Reliance Industries Ltd today claimed that three leading securities and research firms have rated the fallout of the Union Budget as positive for the company.

Enough funds for exporters: RBI
CHANDIGARH, March 7 — Addressing a meeting of the All India Export Advisory Committee held at the CII auditorium here today, Mr M.G. Srivastava, RBI Executive Director, assured the exports that paucity of funds will not be allowed to hit exporters provided quality in production and internationalisation of all activities of the agencies involved were ensured.

Strike call off
MUMBAI, March 7 — The four bank employees unions which had given a call for a strike on March 13 have withdrawn their stir subsequent to the conciliation proceedings here today.

NFL to move HC in land case
NANGAL, March 7 — The management of National Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd NFL has decided to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the Punjab Government’s decision to acquire its land.

BIFR directs PNFC closure
NANGAL, March 7 — BIFR has ordered the winding up of Punjab National Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd . A decision to this effect was taken on March 1.Top




Himachal Futuristic enters e-commerce

Himachal Futuristic Communications Limited (HFCL) on Tuesday issued 10 per cent fresh equity to Kerry Packer promoted Consolidated Press Holding Limited (CPH) of Australia, and announced two joint ventures with CPH, marking the company’s foray into information technology and e-commerce businesses.

CPH will invest Rs 1,039 crore ($ 238 million) to pick up 71,65,650 fresh shares in HFCL, HFCL group Chairman Mahendra Nahata told newspersons in Delhi.

CPH will acquire the shares at a price of Rs 1,450 each, a 40 per cent premium over the market price.

HFCL will hold 51 per cent stakes, while 30 per cent will be controlled by CPH and the balance 19 per cent will be given to other strategic investors in both joint ventures.

The JV company will focus on software services, including animation software, software product development, IT-enabled services and embedded systems.

The second venture, to focus on business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce, will invest in creating and developing network infrastructure all across the country, including establishing payment gateways to support data and e-commerce services.

PC for kids: Mumbai-based Mitashi Educational Computers today launched an educative and entertaining software “Kiddie’s Computers’’ which will be “school away from school’’ for the children between five and 15 during their summer vacation.

Kiddie’s computers, which will be available at the Rs 1085 to Rs 2,685, has five versions — Mitashi Mega Kid, Mitashi Master Kid, Mitashi Maestro, Mitashi Whard and Mitashi Little Wonder.

Mr Rakesh Dugar and Mr Hasmukh Gada, the men behind Mitashi pointed out that there is a huge import duty of nearly 60 per cent on these computers which the Government should reduce as these can largely be used as educational tools.

They have developed a special website for all their products: www.mitashi.com.

NIIT-Oracle deal: NIIT Ltd on Tuesday signed an agreement with Oracle Software India for offering training on the Internet computing system using “oracle8i” in eight major cities.

Oracle8i, facilitates computation of business data in the Internet from a centralised server rather than requiring a complex network of several distributed servers.

Mobile banking: Essar Cellphone announced on Tuesday that mobile banking, will be operational in Delhi from Wednesday. The service will initially be available to subscribers having an HDFC Bank account and more banks will be added soon.

Customers can check their account balance, get details of their three most recent transactions, order an account statement or a new cheque book and even stop payment or change the operating account.

— TNS, agenciesTop



 

ITC ties up with Denmark firm

CALCUTTA, March 7 (UNI) —Close on the heels of its maiden foray in IT sector by tying up with Info Bank of the UK, ITC Limited through its wholly-owned software development subsidiary, ITC Infortech, has entered into a wide-ranging agreement with Expandit of Denmark for marketing its latest business application software.

Chief Executive of ITC Information System, Sanjay Verma said on Tuesday the products offered by Expandit are uniquely positioned to extend traditional corporate information systems to the wider marketplace. ITC Infortech in collaboration with Expandit will develop softwares, which would be marketed throughout the world by the former.Top


 

Lloyd’s accused of duping investors

LONDON, March 7 (AP) — Lloyd’s of London, one of the most trusted names in insurance, duped investors by concealing 4 billion ($ 6.3 billion) in claims due to asbestos-related illnesses while reserving a tiny fraction of that amount to pay for them, a lawyer said.

Lloyd’s executives, faced with massive liabilities and desperately in need of funds, persuaded potential investors in the early 1980s that Lloyd’s was a well-regulated and prudent place for them to put their money, Simon Goldblatt argued yesterday.

Instead, Lloyd’s lost 8 billion ($ 12.6 billion) from 1988 to 1992, causing financial ruin for many investors, known in the business as Names.

About 30 Names, unable to cope with their share of the losses, have committed suicide over the past several years.

“This is an institution you could not trust,” said Goldblatt, lead lawyer for the investors who accuse Lloyd’s of massive fraud.

Their lawsuit, which seeks damages of up to 150 million ($ 237 million), poses a potentially mortal threat to Lloyd’s.Top



 

Sell shares, get cash same day

BANGALORE, March 7 (UNI) — Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL) today introduced value-added service called “Sell-n-Cash” in Bangalore to enable its account holder to realise proceeds from the sale of securities on the same day.

Talking to newsmen here, SHCIL, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director B. Virupaksha Goud said the “Sell-n-Cash” helps investors in small towns as they suffer due to inherent delays in getting the sale proceeds.

Mr Goud said at present the service is available in six towns in Karnataka and it is proposed to open offices in Mysore, Gulburga and Davanagere.

He said the turnover of the corporation is expected to touch Rs 100,000 crore mark by end of current financial year as it has already touched Rs 93,572 crore as against Rs 28,000 crore registered last year.Top




 

Banking on Internet

MUMBAI, March 7 (PTI) — Tata Infotech has signed an agreement with US-based Solutions Net International to market their ENet, a corporate Internet banking product in India.

Under the agreement, the TATA company will provide banks with E Net implementation, support as well as customisation service.

ENet, which incorporates the contemporary “thin-client” browser technology, is an Internet-based, fully secure and online delivery channel that provides a bank’s corporate clients with convenient and secure access to their banking data across the world.Top




 

‘Panic sales of Reliance unwarranted’

NEW DELHI, March 7 (PTI) — Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) today claimed that three leading securities and research firms have rated the fallout of the Union Budget as positive for the company.

“Contrary to our expectations of a sharp reduction in net import tariffs, the overall change has been negligible. This in our view is positive for RIL,” the company quoted Morgan Stanley as saying.

Goldman Sachs-Kotak Securities said Budget proposals were misunderstood by the stock markets. “We believe the large scale panic-led sales in Reliance stocks are completely unwarranted and reflect misunderstanding on part of street,” an RIL statement said.Top



 

Enough funds for exporters: RBI
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, March 7 — Addressing a meeting of the All India Export Advisory Committee held at the CII auditorium here today, Mr M.G. Srivastava, RBI Executive Director, assured the exports that paucity of funds will not be allowed to hit exporters provided quality in production and internationalisation of all activities of the agencies involved were ensured.

For redressal of grievances, he told the exporters to feel free to visit him between 10.30 a.m. and 11 a.m. without any prior appointment.

He informed the gathering that RBI had launched a website where all circulars are available for use by bankers and exporters.

Mr H.S. Dugal, General Manager of Punjab & Sindh Bank, also spoke.

Strike call off

MUMBAI, March 7 (PTI) — The four bank employees unions which had given a call for a strike on March 13 have withdrawn their stir subsequent to the conciliation proceedings here today.

The four unions are the National Confederation of Bank Employees, the Indian National Bank Employees Federation, the National Organisation of Bank Workers and the Bank Karmachari Sena Mahasangh.Top




 

NFL to move HC in land case
From Lalit Mohan

NANGAL, March 7 — The management of National Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd NFL has decided to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the Punjab Government’s decision to acquire its land.

The Government is forcibly taking possession of 306 acres belonging to NFL, it is alleged.

The NFL authorities had declared this land surplus in 1986, but revoked the decision on the direction of the former Ropar Deputy Commissioner, Mr KS Sidhu.

The Deputy Commissioner had directed it that NFL had no right to release the land to the original owners without prior permission of the Fertiliser Ministry. The directions of the Deputy Commissioner are recorded in the minutes of the meeting, held on December 2, 1997, the NFL authorities allege.

After these directions, the NFL authorities conveyed their decision to stall the transfer of land to the Secretary, Fertilisers, who then wrote to the Chief Secretary, Punjab, on April 12, 1999, directing him not to release the land to the original owners.

The NFL authorities now allege that the Punjab Government is illegally taking the possession of their land without taking them into its confidence.

Meanwhile, the Punjab revenue authorities have started consolidation work of the disputed land in spite of the protest by the local NFL authorities. The Financial Commissioner Revenue, Punjab, had recently visited the area to supervise the consolidation work.Top



 

BIFR directs PNFC closure
From Our Correspondent

NANGAL, March 7 — BIFR has ordered the winding up of Punjab National Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd (PNFC). A decision to this effect was taken on March 1.

According to sources here, BIFR has ordered the two major financiers of PNFC — the SBI and IDBI — to make arrangements to sell off the unit within 15 days.

If the bankers fail to sell off the unit, it would go under the jurisdiction of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The BIFR decision has, however, left about 500 workers of the plant in a quandary. The workers, who had not been getting any salaries since September 1999, have been rendered jobless. They are also not sure about the status of their retrenchment dues.

Besides the workers, the closure of PNFC has hit about 1,500 families of contract labourers, truck operators and small businessmen of the area.

Although the winding up was pre-empted, it has also caught many local businessmen unawares. The local truck union and the petrol stations that have their dues pending with PNFC now fear that they may not get it back.

The PNFC plant was established here in 1985 at a cost of Rs 65 crore. The unit was installed here keeping in view the easy availability of ammonia from the adjoining unit of NFL and the subsidy on the ammonia chloride fertilisers.Top




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BIZ BRIEFS

Bullion
Gold Std. Rs 4530
Gold 22-Ct Rs 4380
Silver Ready Rs 7800
Silver delivery Rs 7840

Forex
US $ Rs 43.57/58
Stg Rs 68.61/63
Euro Rs 41.88/90
Yen (100) Rs 40.50/52

Joyco India
NEW DELHI, March 7 (TNS) — Himachal-based Joyco India Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Joyco group of Spain, has launched the first lollipop to be made to international produce standards in India. To be sold under the brand name “Pim Pom”. the product is being manufactured at Baddi.

Pugmarks
CHANDIGARH, March 7 (TNS) — Pugmarks InterWeb Pvt Ltd has invested in Reserve Meal.com. Inc, acquiring a 9 per cent equity stake in the venture. The Canadian firm makes online restaurant reservations, offering menu browsing, food and seat selection, besides food and beverages on order.

Exim bank
NEW DELHI, March 7 (PTI) —The Centre has released Rs 50 crore towards the equity of the Export-Import Bank of India, increasing the paid-up capital to Rs 550 crore.

SBI branch
BATALA, March 7 (FOC) — The main branch of SBI was computerised today. This is the second branch of Gurdaspur district to get computerised — the first being at Pathankot.

Rajalakshmi
NEW DELHI, March 7 (TNS) — Ms Rajalakshmi Rao has been appointed a whole-time member of the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission for five years.

SBI plan
CHANDIGARH: March 7 (TNS) — Mr Prabhakar Sharma, SBI Chief General Manager, Chandigarh Circle, today launched a customer service improvement plan at the Industrial Area and Fentonganj Jalandhar branches.Top



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