Wednesday, April 26, 2000,
Chandigarh, India






THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S
 HO CHI MINH CITY : A Vietnamese motorcyclist rides through a Ho Chi Minh City street with a herd of ducks early Tuesday morning, April 25, 2000. The former capital of South Vietnam will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the end of Vietnam War in ceremonies and parade on April 30.  AP/PTI
A Vietnamese motorcyclist rides through a Ho Chi Minh City street with a herd of ducks on Tuesday. The former capital of South Vietnam will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the end of Vietnam War in ceremonies and parade on April 30. — AP/PTI

Appoint new CMD for IA: committee
NEW DELHI, April 25 — A parliamentary committee today asked the government to initiate “fresh action” to fill all posts where appointments have been made bypassing the Public Enterprises Selection Board , including the appointment of Anil Baijal as Chairman and Managing Director of Indian Airlines.

Jain TV in trouble
NEW DELHI, April 25 — A portion of a building belonging to Jain TV was today demolished as illegal by the New Delhi Municipal Council which asserted that proper notice had been given to the owner in this regard but Jain TV alleged that the action was mala fide.

Punjab extends ST holiday
CHANDIGARH, April 25 — Mr Parkash Singh Badal announced an extension of the sales tax holiday for units till April 30, 2000, at an interaction with PHDCCI members here yesterday.

Move to set up power co-op in Tohana
CHANDIGARH, April 25 — Tohana in Haryana , is being considered for an exploratory pilot project under which a rural power co-operative, proposes to buy power for distribution among members, promises reliable and good quality of power.



EARLIER STORIES
 

Court directive to Harshad Mehta
MUMBAI, April 25 — Big Bull Harshad Mehta and his associate Niranjan Shah were today directed by a magistrate to appear before it on April 28 in response to a process issued against them for alleged violation of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, failing which the court would issue non-bailable warrants.

PunCom ties up with US firm
CHANDIGARH, April 25 — Punjab Communications Limited has entered into a collaboration with Level One Communication Inc of the USA for the design and manufacture of SDH and IP based products based on Level One chip designs.

SEBI imposes 5 pc margins
MUMBAI, April 25 — SEBI today imposed additional 5 per cent margin on scrip-wise net sale position in the wake of the continuous downward trend witnessed in the markets for the last seven days.

More scrips for NSE
MUMBAI, April 25 — More securities will be available for trading on the capital market segment of the National Stock Exchange from April 26, 2000.

UTI fund for retirees
CALCUTTA, April 25 — The Unit Trust of India has finalised plans to launch a specific fund for Voluntary Retirement Scheme optees to invest their funds suited to their investment objectives.

Indian Shaving net dips
THE net profit of Indian Shaving Products Ltd declined marginally to Rs 3.73 crore in the first quarter (January-March) of 2000 from Rs 3.81 crore in the corresponding period last year.Top



Appoint new CMD for IA: committee

NEW DELHI, April 25 (PTI) — A parliamentary committee today asked the government to initiate “fresh action” to fill all posts where appointments have been made bypassing the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB), including the appointment of Anil Baijal as Chairman and Managing Director of Indian Airlines.

Taking strong exception to the appointment of Civil Aviation Joint Secretary as Indian Airlines CMD, the Committee on Public Undertakings recommended immediate action to scrap the provision for bypassing the PESB procedure so that all recruitments to top posts in public undertakings are done on an equal footing by only one agency.

The committee’s second report, which was placed in both Houses of Parliament today, said it expected a “positive action” in this regard within three months.

The committee, headed by BJP MP V.K. Malhotra, asked the government to initiate fresh action to fill up all such posts, through the PESB on a regular basis, treating the earlier appointments as ad hoc.

The report said it found the government’s reply that the PSEB was bypassed only under special and rare circumstances like the poor health of PESB very “vague and incomplete”.

“The committee feels that once a set of systems and procedures has been established to fill top level positions, there should be no stipulation made along with it to enable the bypassing of the system which would really make the whole legally established system redundant,” the report said.

The committee said the rule of law would be restored in the matter of appointments to top posts in PSUs only when this kind of unreasonable stipulation were scrapped from procedures.

The committee said it did not understand how suddenly ‘the poor health of the PSE’ came to afflict the functioning of the PSEB only when it came to the matter of filling the vacancy of CMD of Indian Airlines, while the same PESB was approached to fill posts in other PSUs, which were not so much in the pink of their health.

“This clearly indicate that there was no sudden disabling illness and no ‘special and rare circumstances’ which existed then to justify the bypassing of the PESB,” the report said.Top






 

Jain TV in trouble

NEW DELHI, April 25 (PTI) — A portion of a building belonging to Jain TV was today demolished as illegal by the New Delhi Municipal Council which asserted that proper notice had been given to the owner in this regard but Jain TV alleged that the action was mala fide.“We served the proper intimation to Jain TV to take notice of the illegal construction in their Scindia Villa studios.

But nothing happened. After the due permission the team was sent to demolish the portion,” NDMC spokesperson told PTI. However, Chairman of Jain TV J.K. Jain claimed “the demolition was done with ulterior motive.Top




 

Punjab extends ST holiday
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 25 — Mr Parkash Singh Badal announced an extension of the sales tax holiday for units till April 30, 2000, at an interaction with PHDCCI members here yesterday.

Mr Badal said units fulfilling the criteria of having acquired land, applied for loan or having obtained special licence (where licence is compulsory) till April 30, 2000, can take the benefit of sales tax holiday even if the unit starts production after April 30.

Chamber President K.S. Mehta asked industrial houses to take over the management of various ITIs to train youth in different vocations.The Mohali Industries Association Gates (India) Pvt. Ltd. offered to adopt an ITI each.

Capt Kanwaljit Singh, Finance Minister, offered to honour units which are honest sales tax payees by either issuing them a “Green Card” or adopting a “samman system”.Top



 

Move to set up power co-op in Tohana
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 25 — Tohana in Haryana , is being considered for an exploratory pilot project under which a rural power co-operative, proposes to buy power for distribution among members, promises reliable and good quality of power.

The US-based National Rural Electric Co-operative Association (NRECA) International, is, presently discussing modalities of such a project with power authorities in Haryana. Mr Paul J. Clark, Vice-President of the NRECA says “The concept of a co-operative body handling power distribution is new for the government and they have to be convinced that such a system can work.’’ Countrywide the NRECA is thinking of setting up 30 such co-operatives with each having membership of 20,000 members, he added.

Explaining the idea Mr Clark said co-operatives buy power from the state electricity board and distribute on its own. The co-operative shall also collect bills. When asked what will happen if a resident living in a particular area does not wish to join the co-operative, he said “power will be supplied to him, however, benefits accrued from the co-operative movement will not be passed on to such consumers.

The co-operative will cut down on distribution losses, and ensure that everyone pays for the power he consumes. Giving an example of Bangladesh he said the NRECA was ensuring almost 97 per cent collection of bills under a rural co-operative scheme run successfully in that country. The Mumbai based Infrastructural Development Corporation is also planning on power sector policy and the NRECA has already given its views on it.

How will the co-operative distribute power when it has to ultimately buy power from the state electricity authority? Options are to procure power from a bio-mass based energy plant run by a major industrial house in Tohana or from independent power producers based elsewhere. Besides this the state government has to ensure that people who pay bills will get priority in power supply as reward for better management of their co-operative set ups. The idea is to ensure back-up supply also Mr Clark added while stressing that by providing efficient distribution and if the government allows for a discount against bulk purchase, the co-operative can do well. Power can be supplied at very good rates, even below the prevailing rates.

The co-operative will be owned by the members and run by a board of directors elected from the membership , which sets policies and procedures that are implemented by the professional staff of the co-operative. In the US NRECA runs 875 co-operatives serving 32 million people spread over 46 states . The co-operatives maintain nearly 45 per cent of the electric distribution lines in the USA while their collective assets exceeded $ 62 billion in 1997.Top





 

Court directive to Harshad Mehta

MUMBAI, April 25 (PTI) — Big Bull Harshad Mehta and his associate Niranjan Shah were today directed by a magistrate to appear before it on April 28 in response to a process issued against them for alleged violation of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, failing which the court would issue non-bailable warrants. Another accused, Jairaj Java, was, however, exempted from appearance because he had earlier surrendered before the court. Later, he procured a high court permission to visit Dubai for three months on a business tour from April 21.

Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Usha Iyer had on April 17 issued process against the trio for FERA violation to the tune of $ 6 lakhs.Top



 

PunCom ties up with US firm
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 25 — Punjab Communications Limited (PunCom) has entered into a collaboration with Level One Communication Inc of the USA for the design and manufacture of SDH and IP based products based on Level One chip designs.

According to company sources, Level One recently introduced STM-1 chip set into the world market and is the technology leader in this field. In its bid to enter the Indian market in a big way, it has chosen PunCom as a strategic partner.

PunCom will initially manufacture transmission terminal equipment up to 155 Mbit/Sec based on new Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) as compared to its existing product list based on Plesiochronous Digital Hierarchy (PDH).

The agreement allows PunCom to outsource components globally and market SDH products on highly competitive rates. PunCom has targeted to capture up to 30 per cent share of the growing SDH market of DoT and the Railways by 2002.Top



 

SEBI imposes 5 pc margins

MUMBAI, April 25 (PTI) — SEBI today imposed additional 5 per cent margin on scrip-wise net sale position in the wake of the continuous downward trend witnessed in the markets for the last seven days.

The decision, to come into effect tomorrow, was taken at a meeting of stock exchanges convened by SEBI to review prevailing market conditions, SEBI said here today.

The market got a reprieve with BSE sensex rising marginally by 22.94 points today, after a loss of 994.74 points over seven consecutive trading sessions till yesterday.

The stock exchanges have assured SEBI that there was overall safety in the market and that there was no undue concern.

Meanwhile, the risk management group of SEBI, set up to rationalise and simplify the margin system, scheduled to meet here tomorrow, is expected to further discuss the issue.Top


More scrips for NSE

MUMBAI, April 25 (PTI) — More securities will be available for trading on the capital market segment of the National Stock Exchange from April 26, 2000.

The additional securities in the depository segment were Atlas Cycle, Birla 3M, Chicago Pneumatic, Core Healthcare, Deepak Nitrite Ltd, Elgi Tyre, Forbes Gokak, Foseco India, IFCI, Tata Sponge, Kajaria Ceramics, Kalpataru Power Transmission, NEPC Agro Foods, NEPC Micon, Nirlon, Orient Information, Punjab Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals, RPG Transmission, SM Dyechem and Subros.Top



 

UTI fund for retirees

CALCUTTA, April 25 (PTI) — The Unit Trust of India has finalised plans to launch a specific fund for Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) optees to invest their funds suited to their investment objectives.

The fund will also provide support to the corporates offering VRS subject to the UTI’s internal exposure norm, UTI Chairman, P.S. Subramanyam told a press conference here today.

Though UTI has already talked to a number of companies, no target has been fixed for the specific VRS fund introduced for the first time in the market.

“This will be a win-win situation for all concerned. It is the endeavour of UTI to innovate continuously for designing new products to satisfy the investment needs of investors’’, Subramanyam said.

The UTI Board of Directors will meet on April 27 and if approved, the VRS scheme will be launched shortly.

“We have contacted about 30 to 40 companies who were keen to introduce VRS and know their requirements, he said.

Subramanyam said that with a view to offering investors an opportunity to invest in other diversified sectors of the economy, UTI proposed to launch four additional sector funds under its Growth Sector Fund.

During the current year, UTI had so far excelled in its fund performance, sales mobilisations and investor servicing.

UTI had mobilised more than Rs 10,200 crore in the nine months of the current financial year (from July 99 to March 2000) and there had been net inflows to the extent of Rs 2500 crore as against net outflows of Rs 3349 crore last year around the same time.

He said that active fund management aided by excellent marketing efforts and prompt investor servicing had been well taken by the investors.

The flagship scheme US-64 had performed very well largely due to the active fund management strategy pursued both for equity and debt portfolios, the Chairman explained.

The reserves and surplus under the scheme have risen manifold from Rs 130 crore as on June 30, 1999 to approximately Rs 4200 crore by March 2000.

The UTI Chairman said that to bring about greater transparency, the company had already started the process of bringing its schemes launched after 1994 under the purview of SEBI.

“We have worked out a time frame acceptable to SEBI. UTI will satisfy all regulatory norms prescribed by SEBI’’, he added.Top



 

Indian Shaving net dips

THE net profit of Indian Shaving Products Ltd declined marginally to Rs 3.73 crore in the first quarter (January-March) of 2000 from Rs 3.81 crore in the corresponding period last year. Sales of the company increased by 18 per cent to Rs 52.23 crore during the period from Rs 44.01 crore in the corresponding period last year.

Nicholas Piramal: Nicholas Piramal has posted a 26 per cent growth in net profit at Rs 56.95 crore for the year ended March 2000, on a sales of Rs 486.48 crore, a 13 per cent growth over the previous year. The company declared that its interim dividend of Rs 6.5 on each share of Rs 10, announced on march 30, 2000, as the final dividend for the year.

Eider Infotech: National Stock Exchange has decided to revoke suspension of trading in the equity shares of Eider Infotech from April 26, 2000, following the company’s satisfactory redressal of all issues of non-compliance.

Nestle India: Nestle India has reported a 37 per cent jump in its net profit to Rs 28.1 crore during the first quarter ending March 31 as against Rs 20.5 crore in the corresponding period last year, mainly on account of revised accounting standards being followed by the company from the current year.

Meanwhile, Carlo M. Donati will take over as Nestle India’s Chairman and Managing Director tomorrow from Narendra Singh Sarila, who has been appointed Chairman Emeritus of the company.

Silverline: Silverline Technologies Inc (STI) on Tuesday announced its acquisition of CII Inc, a Canada-based global e-business solutions and services company, for an undisclosed amount.

“The acquisition of CIT Inc, which has a software development centre in Egypt, provides STI with greater presence in Canada and the Middle East, as well as a broad range of experience in latest Internet and Intranet technologies,” STI said in a release in Mumbai on Tuesday.

Centurion Bank: Centurion Bank on Tuesday declared a 11 per cent dividend on the back of a 60 per cent jump in its net profit at Rs 34.34 crore in the year ended March 31, 2000 over the previous year.

IPCL: Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Limited (IPCL) has achieved record production for the fiscal year 1999-2000 by producing 11.76 lakh tonnes of petrochemical products for the year as against 10.39 lakh tonnes achieved during 1998-99. The sales too kept pace with the production.

Intel Capital: Intel Capital has decided to pick up a 49 per cent equity stake in a wholly-owned special purpose vehicle (SPV) of the Hinduja Finance Corporation $ 49 million (Rs 219 crore).

Reliance: US-based Janus Capital Corporation (JCC) has acquired about 5.94 crore shares representing 5.64 per cent of the capital of Reliance Industries on behalf of various mutual funds and other accounts. RIL informed stock exchanges today that it had received the information to this effect from the JCC.

ABB: ABB India on Tuesday announced a 125 per cent growth in its net profit at Rs 72 lakh during the first quarter of 2000 as against a net loss of Rs 286 lakh during the same period last year. — agencies

Satyam Infoway: Satyamfax, the Internet protocol (IP) based fax service, was launched for the first time in the country by Satyam Infoway on Tuesday. The company has signed an agreement with Singapore Telecom for this service, which is designed to integrate into a company’s e-mail and LAN system and can be customised to meet the specific fax service requirements. —TNSTop



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BIZ BRIEFS

Bullion
Gold Std Rs 4400
Gold 22-Ct Rs 4250
Silver Ready Rs 7700
Silver delivery Rs 7710

Forex
US $ Rs 43.65/66
Stg Rs 68.82/85
Euro Rs 40.66/68
Yen (100) Rs 41.35/38

Aptech
NEW DELHI, April 25 (TNS) — Aptech Limited has entered into an agrement with IBM India to provide training to corporate customers on IBM technology and products.

Jindal Photo
NEW DELHI, April 25 (TNS) — Jindal Photo Films has expanded its medical diagnostic equipment range with the introduction of Fuji Thermal Imager FTI-500, Fuji Laser Imaging Films, Fuji Computed Radiography Systems and Automatic Film processors.

IVPA code
CHANDIGARH, April 25 (TNS) — The Indian Vanaspati Producers’ Association (IVPA) has decided to adopt a code of ethics for the manufacture of vanaspati, refined oils and allied products. The code is designed to achieve the best possible quality of vanaspati by conforming to a self-regulatory system.

SBI meet
LUDHIANA, April 25 (FOC) — SBI will try to meet all the genuine needs of industrialists, said Mr B.L. Patwardhan, Chief General Manager (Credit), here yesterday. He was talking to mediapersons at a corporate meet organised by SBI. The meet was attended by representatives of the companies like Hero, Trident, Vardhman, Avon, Malwa, Nahar, Eastman, Sportsking, Ralson and the representatives from the Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings, hosiery, cycle, auto parts and the light engineering industry.Top


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