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Wednesday, December 15, 1999
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Hind Lever bids 226 cr for Modern Foods
CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — The new Minister in charge of Disinvestment, the suave Mr Arun Jaitley’s commitment to ‘swadeshi’ is going to be put on test on the issue of transfer of the Modern Food Industries Ltd to multi-national corporations.

 
After Cogentrix, Powergen for pullout?
KHAJURAHO (Madhya Pradesh), Dec 14 — British energy giant Powergen has signalled it could pull out of a power project in Madhya Pradesh due to frustrating delays in implementation, following in the footsteps of US counterpart Cogentrix.
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Share your views with Gujral in cyberspace
NEW DELHI, Dec 14 — The former Prime Minister, Mr I.K. Gujral, is now on the “net” to answer queries and he has been bombarded with questions on foreign affairs, CTBT, India-Pakistan relations and proposed visit of U.S. President, Mr Bill Clinton to the country.

Jagmohan to inaugurate Infranet ’99
CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, Malaysian Minister for Public Works is leading a 45-member high powered business delegation to participate at Infranet’ 99 — the second International Conference-cum-Exposition on Infrastructure Development to be held from 16-18 December 1999 at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi.

Modicom renamed Spice Com
CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — In significant development, the name of Modicom, the joint venture between ModiCorp and Distacom (a Hong Kong based regional telecom company), with operations in the cellular circles of Punjab and Karnataka, under the name Spice Telecom, has been changed to Spice Communications Limited.

Clarification on immigration
CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — Lt. Col. B.S. Sandhu, Chairman, Worldwide Immigration Consultancy Services, clarifies the news item of the Wall Street Journal, Washington claiming that the Canadian Immigrant Visa is available within one minute.

ECE Elevators opens branch in city
CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — ECE Industries Ltd is one of the companies of the B.K. Birla empire, has strong presence in medium to heavy industries of different nature.

BP campaign ends
CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — Bharat Petroleum organised its sales promotion campaign a month ago, “Glide Gold Dhamaka”, for its eco-friendly 2T oil.

Market fee opposed
PANIPAT, Dec 14 — Wool traders here have expressed their resentment against the State Government for not waiving the market fee on wool.

 

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Hind Lever bids 226 cr for Modern Foods
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — The new Minister in charge of Disinvestment, the suave Mr Arun Jaitley’s commitment to ‘swadeshi’ is going to be put on test on the issue of transfer of the Modern Food Industries Ltd (MFIL) to multi-national corporations.

Makers of Modern Bread, the MFIL also manufactures fruit juice, fruit pulp and other related items in 21 units located all over the country, including Chandigarh. In 1997-98, its profit stood at more than Rs 6 crore, which was made despite the Government withdrawing all subsidies and monetary support. Why the Union Government wants to transfer this profit-making public sector unit to the MNCs is a mystery.

“The report of the Disinvestment Commission with regard to MFIL is shocking. There is no reason given in the report which fit in the criteria of disinvestment”, Mr A.D. Nagpal, General Secretary of the All-India Modern Bakeries Workers Federation, said.

Four MNCs reportedly made bids for the MFIL and it was learnt that of the four, the Hindustan Levers Ltd was the frontrunner. The HLL was the highest bidder, which reportedly offered a price of Rs 226 crore for MFIL. The Workers Federation, however, alleged that it was a grossly under-estimated price and felt that a bureaucrat-politician-MNC nexus was responsible for offering the MFIL in a “throw-away price”.

The Workers Federation point out that a firm, belonging to one A.P. Saxena, fixed the price of MFIL assets at Rs 109 crore, whereas the price of the lands of three MFIL units in Delhi alone would come to about Rs 500 crore. The MFIL also has its units in places such as Mumbai, Calcutta, Ahmedabad and Bangalore etc.

Most surprisingly, even though the Union Government seems all set to disinvest it share from the MFIL, it has never consulted the workers in any stage of its decision making. This is, reportedly, against the constitutional provision of the Government first coming to an agreement with the employees of PSUs before inviting bids from private companies. The employees are also frightened due to reports that after the takeover, majority of the workers will be given marching orders.Top



 

After Cogentrix, Powergen for pullout?

KHAJURAHO (Madhya Pradesh), Dec 14 — British energy giant Powergen has signalled it could pull out of a power project in Madhya Pradesh due to frustrating delays in implementation, following in the footsteps of US counterpart Cogentrix.

But the Madhya Pradesh Government, which won fresh investment commitments worth $1 billion at a business forum here, moved quickly to assure Powergen that the hurdles in the way of the project will be removed.

Powergen’s stand was indicated to state Chief Minister Digvijay Singh in no uncertain terms by Michael Bates, British Deputy High Commissioner to India, at the Destination ‘99 forum.

“The threat is quite serious and the Powergen group is very frustrated at these delays. It has invested heavily in the Bina project, but it would like to get out of it if staying there implies more delays,” Bates told IANS.

Similar delays in implementation led to a pullout by the US-based Cogentrix from a $1.3 billion power project in Mangalore, Karnataka, last week. Attempts are now under way to persuade the firm to reconsider.

Bates was voicing the apprehensions of not only Powergen, which is constructing a 500 megawatt (mw) thermal power project at Bina, but other similarly placed private sector companies in Madhya Pradesh. Most private sector energy projects have been held up in the state because of ongoing litigation in the Supreme Court regarding the allotment of escrow cover.

Bates asserted that a withdrawal by Powergen would not only be a bad signal for the power sector in Madhya Pradesh but bode ill for FDI in the country.

Digvijay Singh assured Bates that the state government would go all out to ensure that the “escrow litigation” ends at the earliest. “We are all for you and we understand the problems. We will support your stand,” he said at the summit.

Destination ‘99 saw the participation of industry and allied organisations and was jointly hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Madhya Pradesh Industries Development Corporation and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

Singh said official representatives from Powergen and its Indian partner, Grasim Industries, had met him a few weeks ago and conveyed their concern. Singh admitted that the private sector’s power project implementation in the State was in a “mess.”

At the Khajuraho forum, Digvijay Singh confessed that “driving on the roads in the State was nightmarish,and the bureaucracy was mired in red-tape” and that he had been unable to pay enough attention to the industrial sector because he was concentrating on the social sector.

The Russians agreed to offer a $ 400 million loan to the Madhya Pradesh Electricity Board for setting up the fifth unit of the Sanjay Gandhi Thermal Power Station at Birsinghpur with an installed capacity of 500 MW. The project would be executed by Teknoprom, which has built similar projects for the National Thermal Power Corporation in the past.

Enbee, a unit of the Hindi chain of newspapers Navbharat, and another media house Siddarth have either signed joint venture agreements or their own ventures with a total investment of about Rs 5 billion.

“Coming at a time when industry has not yet fully recovered from the impact of the recessionary years, this represents a good response,” said M.P. Rajan, the chairman of the Madhya Pradesh chapter of CII.

— IANSTop



 

Share your views with Gujral in cyberspace
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Dec 14 — The former Prime Minister, Mr I.K. Gujral, is now on the “net” to answer queries and he has been bombarded with questions on foreign affairs, CTBT, India-Pakistan relations and proposed visit of U.S. President, Mr Bill Clinton to the country.

Mr Gujral, who can now be reached in Satyamonline.com “Ask Our Expert” section of the site, would answer to the questions raised by the surfer who posts his query.

Mr Gujral said the Internet is an important tool in spreading knowledge and should be used as a method spread education.

The Managing Director of Satyam Infoway Ltd, Mr R. Ramraj said today people want to have in-depth analysis and opinions on events and happenings around the world. The fact a person of Mr Gujral’s stature has decided to go online further highlights the growing significance and critical role the Internet can play in bringing people together.

IndiaWorld: Satyam Infoway said it would invest more money in acquisitions of the webcentric companies without building expectations of the IndiaWorld type of valuations.

“This is the investment time and we will be acquiring more companies. However, expectations of IndiaWorld type valuations cannot be met,” Mr Ramraj, told reporters last evening at the launch of its latest portal.

Satyam Infoway, which has raised $ 90 million from American Depository Receipts (ADR), had surprised many corporate observers by acquiring Rs 11.27 crore turnover IndiaWorld for a whopping Rs 500 crore.

Mr Ramraj did not deny whether the company was in talks with an overseas Internet major for a possible tie-up.

There were reports that America Online (AOL) had claimed stakes in Satyam Infoway.

For making balance of the payment for the buy-out of IndiaWorld, Mr Ramraj said Satyam Infoway had time till September next year to explore the best financial options.Top


 

Jagmohan to inaugurate Infranet ’99
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu, Malaysian Minister for Public Works is leading a 45-member high powered business delegation to participate at Infranet’ 99 — the second International Conference-cum-Exposition on Infrastructure Development to be held from 16-18 December 1999 at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi.

Companies representing Malaysia’s Infrastructure Supermarket will display their capability in construction and management of roads, ports airports, urban highways, runways, industrial estate and expressways.

Mr Jagmohan Union Minister for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation will inaugurate Infranet’ 99.

Over 500 delegates from India and overseas would be attending the event. The principal co-sponsors of the event are the State Governments of Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana and India Railways.Top


 

Modicom renamed Spice Com
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — In significant development, the name of Modicom, the joint venture between ModiCorp and Distacom (a Hong Kong based regional telecom company), with operations in the cellular circles of Punjab and Karnataka, under the name Spice Telecom, has been changed to Spice Communications Limited. The change in name comes at a time when Spice networks are on high growth trajectories.

Dr B.K. Modi, Chairman, ModiCorp said, “The name of a company is a powerful indicator of its culture and focus.”

The two circles of Spice Communications are the fastest growing cellular circles with the highest average revenue per user and a combined subscriber base of over 1,40,000.Top


 

Clarification on immigration
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — Lt. Col. B.S. Sandhu, Chairman, Worldwide Immigration Consultancy Services (WWICS), clarifies the news item of the Wall Street Journal, Washington claiming that the Canadian Immigrant Visa is available within one minute.

What implies by this news item is that the assessment of qualification in terms of one’s eligibility to immigrate to Canada could be determined based on the selection factors given by Immigration Canada.

The web-site mentioned in news is also about the assessment of ones’ eligibility.

Mr Sandhu reiterated that even the pass score of 70 points to determine one’s eligibility is just a yardstick and does not guarantee the Immigrant Visa to a person even with that score. The visa officer, who by Canadian Immigration law is the final authority to accept or reject an applicant based on whether a person would be able to successfully establish himself in Canada or not.

An immigrant must be fully aware and knowledgeable about employment potentialities, licensing requirements in his profession and what upgradation of skills would be required to meet those standards. And this would be possible if an applicant knows the rating of one’s profession as compared to Canadian Standards, Col. Sandhu added.

At Canadian High Commission, the processing time at present is between 30 to 36 months. The new Immigration and Citizenship Minister Ms Elinor Caplan of Canada is devising new methods and policies to cut down the processing time. Top


 

ECE Elevators opens branch in city
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — ECE Industries Ltd is one of the companies of the B.K. Birla empire, has strong presence in medium to heavy industries of different nature. ECE specialises in manufacturing, modernising and maintenance of elevators.

The ECE Elevators has adopted the state-of-the-art technologies from Toshiba Corporation of Japan and Beringer Hydraulik AG of Switzerland. The elevators from ECE go through stringent quality and safety control tests in its laboratories before finally reaching the customer.

The company has already installed over 11,000 elevators in 250 towns and cities all over the country, said Mr Anup Sinha, General Manager, ECE (Elevators division).

At Chandigarh, ECE’s marked presence is felt in the two capsule panoramic elevators installed at Hotel Mountview and four energy efficient elevators at Haryana Secretariat, Sector 17. Mr Sinha said that the response centre at Chandigarh has been upgraded to a full branch with trained manpower, latest tools and spare parts.Top


 

BP campaign ends
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 — Bharat Petroleum organised its sales promotion campaign a month ago, “Glide Gold Dhamaka”, for its eco-friendly 2T oil. During the campaign the company has offered to its customers a number of prizes and free gifts which include movie tickets, Rayban sun glasses, Kodak cameras, Videocon walkman, Maxima watches and an LML scooter through daily, weekly and monthly draws of lots.

The final fourth weekly draw was held here yesterday. The chief guest was Mr Nek Chand. The Executive Director (Lubricants), Mr Sanjay Krishnamurthy and the Area Marketing Manager (Chandigarh), Mr Arun K. Gupta were present on the occasion.Top


 

Market fee opposed

PANIPAT, Dec 14 (FOC) — Wool traders here have expressed their resentment against the State Government for not waiving the market fee on wool. District President of the Haryana Beopar Mandal Roshan Lal Gupta said the woollen blanket trade had been facing financial crisis due to recession for the last many years. But the Government had failed to solve the problems of the wool traders.Top


  H
 
  Bullion
Gold Std. Rs 4400
Gold 22-Ct Rs 4250
Silver Ready Rs 7820
Silver delivery Rs 7835

Forex
US $ Rs 43.53/54
Stg Rs 70.50/53
Euro Rs 43.82/84
Yen (100) Rs 42.21/23

Syndicate Bank
PHAGWARA, Dec 14 (FOC) — Syndicate Bank today opened its computerised branch here. Mr Vijay Kumar Singh, Deputy Commissioner, Kapurthala inaugurated it.

Bank of Baroda
PHAGWARA, Dec 14 (FOC) — Bank of Baroda today opened its first NRI branch here. Mr T.V Laxmi Narain, Assistant General Manager inaugurated this hi-tech branch.

ISO-9002
CHANDIGARH, Dec 14 (TNS) — Maharishi Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd has been awarded the ISO 9002 Certificate by the world famous certifying agency, KMAQA of Korea.

Bank strike
CALCUTTA, Dec 14 (PTI) — The proposed all-India bank strike on December 17 has been deferred, according to an AIBEA release issued here today. The next round of conciliation proceedings has been fixed on December 28.

SBI branch
FAZILKA, Dec 14 (FOC) — Mr P.C.Sharma, Assistant General Manager, SBI, Zonal office, Ludhiana, today inaugurated State Bank of India’s computerised branch here.

Trade Fair
CALCUTTA, Dec 14 (UNI) — Twenty-five leading State enterprises from China will be the main attraction among the foreign participants in the 13th industrial India Trade Fair to be held here from December 21 to January 1.Top


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