|B U S I N E S S||
Saturday, July 25, 1998
Sebi in the dock over failure to
check plantation companies
NEW DELHI, July 24 The Delhi High Court today issued notices on alleged failure to check illegal activities of plantation companies.
Gestetner India posts higher net profit
CHANDIGARH, July 24 Gestetner India has reported a higher net profit and sales as compared to the corresponding period last year.
|SBI Resurgent India Bonds from
Seminar on paper units
CM to review power tariff hike
|Sebi in the dock over failure
check plantation companies
NEW DELHI, July 24 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today issued notices to Sebi, its Chairman D.R. Mehta, the Secretaries of Finance, Law and Company Affairs and Agriculture and the Registrar of Companies for their alleged failure to check illegal activities of plantation companies.
A Division Bench, comprising acting Chief Justice Mahender Narain and Justice S.K. Mahajan, also issued notices to the Association of Agri Companies of India and a number of plantations companies, including Sterling Tree Magnum India Ltd, Golden Forests India Ltd, Parasrampuria Plantations Ltd, and Anubhav Plantations Ltd.
The High Court notice came on a petition filed by the Forum of Investors of Agro Forestry Companies of India (FIAC) seeking the courts intervention to save investments worth Rs 10,000 crore which have allegedly fallen under grave risk of total loss.
Government standing counsel Rekha Palli accepted the notices on behalf of Sebi and different ministries.The petitioner contended that the Sebi and its Chairman D.R. Mehta should be directed to take action against certain fraudulent time-share and agro plantation companies and ensure that the hard-earned money of lakhs of investors was returned to them.The case will come up for further hearing on September 1.
|Notices to TRAI, Sukh Ram
NEW DELHI, July 24 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today issued notices to the Centre, former Communications Minister Sukh Ram, and other respondents on a petition seeking CBI inquiry into alleged irregularities to the tune of Rs 1100 crore in the allotment of licences to cellular phone operators.
Issuing the notices to respondents to file replies within two weeks, a Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Mahinder Narain and Justice S.K. Mahajan directed standing counsel Rakesh Tiku to submit the judgement of a single judge Bench on the matter within two days.
The other respondents are: Chairman, (TRAI), Chairman (ICICI), Finance Secretary, the chief executive of the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and former member (Finance), (DoT) R.C. Rastogi.
The petition, filed by lawyer B.L. Wadhera, alleged that DoT while allotting licences to cellular operators failed to devise a basic standard for charging licence fee resulting in a net loss of about Rs 1100 crore to the department.
The petitioner alleged that DoT failed to protect the public interest by not incorporating suitable provisions in the licence agreement with cellular operators for charging higher licence fee, in case the actual demand for mobile telephone service turning out to be more than the projection for the first three years.
The cellular operators consequently were allowed undue benefit of Rs 483 crore in the process by Dot by not revising the air time charges from Rs 1.10 to Rs 1.40 per call, the petition said.
To a query by the court why Sukh Ram has been made a respondent, Wadhera said the licences were given during his tenure as Communications Minister in 1994. The minimum basic standard for licence fee was fixed by the former Minister and Rastogi after a mutual discussions on the basis of advice given by one of the bidder to Sukh Ram on July 16, 1992, the petition alleged.
The name of the bidder who supplied the estimated demand for mobile phones has not been made known by DoT till date, it said.
|Gestetner India posts higher net
Tribune News Service
CHANDIGARH, July 24 Gestetner India has reported a higher net profit and sales for the half year that ended on June 30, 1998. The company has posted a higher net profit of Rs 226.79 lakh compared to Rs 143.89 lakh during the corresponding period last year.
The sales went up to Rs 3072.45 lakh from Rs 2583 lakh and profit before tax improved from Rs 273.89 lakh to Rs 348.79 lakh, according to a company release issued here today. Gestetner India launched its first computer-connected Modern Duplicator made in collaboration with Ricoh Wellingborough Products of the UK here.
It also introduced a stencil which can be used with a dot matrix printer. With these products computer users can make multiple copies for 3 paise a copy, claimed General Manager H. Vijaykumar. The electronic duplicator, which costs Rs 55,000 prints up to 130 copies a minute. The manually operated machine costs Rs 20,000.
|SBI Resurgent India Bonds from
Tribune News Service
JALANDHAR, July 24 The SBI will launch its Resurgent India Bonds (RIBs) for mobilising NRI funds on August 5. The SBI Capital Markets will be the lead arranger to the offer and the State Bank of Patiala will collect applications, Mr M. Sitarama Murty, Chief General Manager, SBI, told the media here today.
He said the RIBs will be open to investment by NRIs and overseas corporate bodies (OCBs), and carry an interest rate of 7.75 per cent, 8 per cent and 6.25 per cent per annum payable half yearly in dollar, pound and deutsche mark. The investor will have the option of receiving the interest half yearly or on maturity. The principal and the interest thereon will be fully repatriable in respect of NRIs..
|Seminar on paper units
Tribune News Service
CHANDIGARH, July 24 The Punjab Governor, Lt. Gen. (retd) B.K.N. Chhibber, today called upon the paper industry to strengthen its research and development network for optimum utilisation of non-wood fibrous raw materials. He was speaking at a seminar on Utilisation of non-wood fibrous raw material for paper manufacturers in small and large paper mills organised by the Indian Pulp Paper Technical Association here. Union Minister for State for Industry Sukhbir Singh Badal said that utilisation of waste paper and its recycling could enhance production of paper by 15 per cent.
by Pushpa Girimaji
Government cool to overcharging by PCOs
LAST week, two members of the Rajya Sabha demanded to know, through an unstarred question, whether the government was aware that consumers were losing crores of rupees on account of overcharging by private STD booth operators.
Is the government contemplating any action to protect consumers, they asked.The governments reply, like most answers to Parliament questions, was bland and inadequate. No such case of PCO operators inflicting loss of crores of rupees on consumers has come to notice.
However, a few complaints have been received (reference to Delhi) regarding overcharging by PCO booth operators, the government said. On receipt of such complaints, enquiries are made and if booth operators are found charging more than the prescribed departmental rates, action as envisaged under departmental rules are taken, the government added.
The MPs were echoing the concern of consumer groups, which have raised this issue often in the past. Given the low density of telephones, PCOs play a major role in providing the vital telecommunication link.
However, the absence of strict monitoring of these PCOs by DoT has left the users open to exploitation by the booth operators.The number of PCOs in the country is not small. Himachal Pradesh, for example, which has the highest PCO for population ratio (Urban) has one PCO for 165 people. In Punjab, the ratio is 1:291.
Among the metros, Chennai has the larger number 1 PCO for 202 persons, while the ratio is 1:260 in Mumbai, 1:303 in Delhi and 1:712 in Calcutta.User complaints against STD booths fall roughly into five categories: (a) use of non-standard equipment for computing the call charges in violation of the guidelines issued by the department, (b) tampering of the call meter to give exaggerated readings, (c) charging more than the Rs 2 stipulated by the department as service charge for an outstation call, (d) collecting much more than what is indicated on the call meter and (e) charging anywhere between Rs 2 to 3 for a local call for three minutes, while the actual charge should be Rs 1.31 and even this should be calculated for every five minutes only in exchanges where the five-minute call limit is imposed.
In order to protect consumers, the department of telecommunication will have to ensure that (a) PCO/STD booth operators use only recommended standard meters for computing the bill. (b) the meters are checked for accuracy at regular intervals and certified (c) the receipts issued by private operators are standardised and simplified so that a consumer can comprehend the various heads under which charges are computed.The department should also ensure that all PCOs display prominently, the name and address of the PCO operator, the phone number on which complaints can be made against the operator if any, and the call charges for local calls and the service charges fixed by the department.
Such mandatory display of basic information would to a large extent bring down cases of overcharging by STD operators. The department, in the meanwhile, should fix a more realistic call rate for local calls. How does one pay Rs 1.31?
SBI net jumps 33.15 pc
MUMBAI, July 24 (PTI) The State Bank of India (SBI) reported a 33.15 per cent jump in net profits during April-June 1998 to Rs 426.60 crores despite a 5 per cent fall in outstanding advances, the SBI Chairman announced here yesterday. Addressing a press conference here shortly after the board of directors considered unaudited financial results for the first quarter, Chairman M. S. Verma attributed the scorching pace of growth in net profits to growth in volumes ensuring higher earnings despite a fall in average yield on advances. SBIs total net operating income was up to Rs 2,151.34 crore in the first quarter of 1998-99 from Rs 1,731.64 crore during the first quarter of 1997-98, he said. The countrys biggest bank registered a rise of 19.18 per cent in net interest income during the first quarter to Rs 1,392.64 crore.
ICI records Rs 19.36 cr profit
NEW DELHI, July 24 (PTI) ICI India Ltd, subsidiary of ICI Plc, net profits have jumped by 71 per cent to Rs 19.36 crore in first quarter of current fiscal on sales growth of 14 per cent to Rs 203.75 crore. In the corresponding period last year, ICI had reported net profits of Rs 11.33 crore while sales was Rs 178.42 crore, company statement said here today. The increase in net profits during the period is due to Rs 11.70 crore of exceptional items which included sale of shares of Nalco Chemicals amounting to Rs 21.70 crore, partially offset by voluntary retirement scheme payments and other items. Operating profits during the period was up by 11.55 per cent to Rs 25.68 crore compared to Rs 23.02 crore in the corresponding period last year.
Siemens, ABB bid for AES project
NEW DELHI, July 24 (PTI) Siemens, ABB, Tata Electricity and Larsen and Toubro (L&T) are in the race for Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract for the Rs 2,200 crore fast track AES IB valley power project in Orissa. The 500 MW coal-fired project is promoted by American power major AES transpower. AES has received bids from seven companies and they will submit details by the end of the month, company sources told PTI. The selection process for the EPC contractor will be carried out once the bids are received from these seven companies, they said. The EPC contractor will not hold any equity stake in the 500 MW coal-fired power project.
CMC net up 300 pc
NEW DELHI, July 24 (PTI) Government-owned Computer Maintenance Company (CMC), has recorded a turnover of Rs 51.44 crore during the first quarter (Q1) of the financial year with an increase of 35 per cent compared to previous year. CMC had recorded a net profit of Rs 88 lakh with a phenomenal 300 per cent growth over the same period last year, Chairman and Managing Director of the company, S.S. Ghosh, told reporters here today. Ghosh attributed the better performance to achievements in railways, fingerprinting, tracking system and enterprise network solutions.
Global Tele turnover up
MUMBAI, July 24 (PTI) Global Tele-System Ltd, the flagship company of Global Group has registered a 24.73 per cent growth registering a turnover of Rs 61.24 crore during first quarter ended June 30, 1998. The net profit of the company rose to Rs 6.90 crore during the same period, a company release said here today. The interest and financial charges during the first three months of the current year was low at Rs 7.89 crore as against Rs 9.65 crore during corresponding period previous year, the release said. The company has been successful in issuing and allotting 50 lakh equity shares of Rs 10 each for cash at a premium of Rs 95 per share, aggregating to Rs 52.50 crore to foreign investors on private placement basis. Thus, the share capital and share premium account of the company have gone up by Rs 5 crore and Rs 4.75 crore respectively, the release added.
Union Carbide land taken over
BHOPAL, July 24 (PTI) The District Industries Centre (DIC) here, on the directives of Madhya Pradesh Government, has taken possession of 87.74 acres of land allotted to Union Carbide. The Commerce and Industries Department had cancelled the allotment of the land on the ground that there was no industrial activity since the gas tragedy in 1984, according to an official release.
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