|Wednesday, May 10, 2000,
Controversial Monsanto cotton
cleared for cultivation
IFFCO to enter insurance sector
Metro to make 2-wheeler
B & B opens branch at
Controversial Monsanto cotton
cleared for cultivation
NEW DELHI, May 7 The Indian Government, in a precedent setting move, has given biosafety clearance to the controversial genetically engineered variety of cotton developed by US multinational Monsanto.
The clearance given by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) last week paves the way for large-scale cultivation and marketing of transgenic cotton in the country.
The decision is historic in that it is the first time in India that a genetically modified (GM) agricultural crop has been recommended for large-scale cultivation and marketing, opening the doors for the entry of more GM crops.
A genetically modified variety of mustard, developed by using a propriety gene of another multinational company, Plant Genetics Systems of Belgium, is next in the list.
The Monsanto cotton variety contains a foreign gene obtained from an organism called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The bacterial gene, introduced into cotton, protects the plants from A. lepidoptora, a major pest of cotton, and it is argued by Monsanto that growing Bt cotton would help farmers save money they currently spend on chemical pesticides.
But critics claim that Bt cotton will become vulnerable to pest attack in the long run and that the Bt genes escaping from pollen grains might harm other crops in the neighbourhood and the environment.
Limited field trials of this transgenic cotton had been carried out since 1998 by the Maharashtra Hybrid Corporation (MAHYCO) which is partly owned by Monsanto. These trials created a controversy last year and a petition filed in the Supreme Court by Vandana Shiva, President of the New Delhi-based Research Foundation for Science Technology and Ecology, challenged the legality of the field trials and sought a ban on introduction of Bt cotton in India. The case is coming up for hearing in July.
The DBTs clearance of the Bt cotton, incidentally, ignores objections from environmental groups and was given without waiting for the outcome of the petition pending in the court.
The clearance was given by the Review Committee for Genetic Manipulation (RCGM), a statutory body under the DBT chaired by Asis Datta, a renowned molecular biologist and Vice-Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi.
DBT officials, on condition of anonymity, said the clearance was given for Bt cotton following MAHYCOs presentation on April 4 of data collected from field trials it had conducted in 60 farmers plots.
However, Vandana Shiva says what the DBT has done is illegal because her petition to the Supreme Court has demanded that the DBT should submit all results of the field trial to the court before taking any action. Our case against the DBT is that it is not the right agency to approve field trials or evaluate the results, she told IANS. It is the job of the Environment Ministry.
The clearance by the RCGM means that Monsanto has crossed a major hurdle in commercialising its patented variety in India. The RCGM has informed MAHYCO that it is satisfied with the trial results and that the company is now free to approach the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) under the Ministry of Environment and Forests for large-scale trial prior to marketing.
GEAC permission is only a formality as the DBT has already cleared the transgenic cotton from technical and biosafety angles and has given a strong recommendation that Bt cotton should be introduced in the country in the interest of the cotton farmers.
Company sources said it
planned to grow Bt cotton in at least 10,000 hectares in
different States during this year. Thousands of tonnes of
Bt cotton seeds will become available to the farmers from
2001 for growing. IANS
legs have few takers
NEW DELHI, May 9 Poultry producers are desperate to dispose of chicken legs at any price and dumping the products on developing countries, which are opening their markets, is an easy option. But, in the process the indigenous poultry industry in these developing countries is destroyed and million of people lose their livelihood, said Ms Anuradha J. Desai, Chairperson of NECC.
There is little demand for chicken legs in the USA and other developed markets because chicken legs is considered to be dark meat as opposed to chicken breast which is classified as white meat, she said.
India is currently one of the largest producers of poultry meat and eggs in the world and over five million people depend on this industry for their livelihood. However, in recent years, Indias poultry industry has been in crisis following sharp increases in input costs which it has been able to pass on the consumers.
The imminent phasing out of quantitative restrictions under the WTO agreement would have opened Indian markets to low priced imports and pushed the already crisis bound industry into destruction if tariff protection is not introduced. The problem is not that Indian poultry products are uncompetitive. The problem is dumping, Ms Desai said.
Without this tariff protection, the Indian poultry industry would have been decimated once quantitative import restrictions go under the proposed WTO regime, which will come into effect in 2001, said Ms Anuradha J Desai,
poultry industry once robust and thriving has been
destroyed by dumping of underpriced chicken meat imported
from US. The same thing will happen in India if tariffs
are not raised, she said.
BILT to appoint 3 more Directors
NEW DELHI, May 9 (PTI) Ballarpur Industries Ltd (BILT) has decided to broadbase its board and adopt US GAAP accounting norms from the next financial year (July-June), a top official of the company has said.
In BILT, after the completion of the restructuring, the next focus is on corporate governance and as part of the plan the number of Directors in the company would be increased from 12 to 15, BILT MD Gautam Thapar told PTI.
Thapar said the company
has also decided to adopt the US Generally Accepted
Accounting Principles (GAAP) to improve transparency in
IFFCO to enter insurance sector
NEW DELHI, May 9 (PTI) IFFCO has entered into insurance business by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with a Japanese company Tokio Marine to form a joint venture for undertaking general insurance business in India.
The initial paid-up capital of the joint venture will be Rs 100 crore of which IFFCO will contribute Rs 74 crore and the rest would be brought in by Tokio Marine.
The scope of the proposed insurance venture IFFCO-TOKIO General Insurance Ltd includes fire, marine, rural and social insurance, IFFCO Managing Director Uday Shankar Awasthi said here yesterday at the MoU signing ceremony.
The insurance products offered would be a mix of existing and new products such as a special package for the fertiliser industry and a farmers package policy.
Tokio Marine Fire and Insurance Co Ltd has over 120 years experience in general insurance business and is the largest and oldest general insurance company in Japan, Awasthi said.
Tokio Marines premium income for 1999 was around Rs 45,000 crore and it is ranked the worlds fifth general insurance company based on net premium.
The joint venture
company would expand its marketing territory in a phased
manner and would endeavour to sell business in the
targets area from all variety of customers such as
cooperatives, public, Government and private sectors
including multi-national companies (MNCs) and
make 2-wheeler tyres
NEW DELHI, May 9 Metro Tyres Limited manufacturers of cycle tyres and tubes, plans to enter the automobile tyre segment, especially two-wheeler tyres, in a big way.
The company plans to enter the two-wheeler tyre segment in big way and the land for setting up the unit has already been purchased in Ludhiana, the Managing Director of the firm, Mr Rummy Chabbra, told The Tribune.
The manufacturing unit would be set up with an initial investment of about Rs 50 crore, he added.
Metro Tyres has four plants in Ludhiana with the total capacity to produce 2.25 crore tyres and tubes. It controls over 20 per cent of the bicycle tyre market and 50 per cent of the rickshaw nylon tyre market in the country.
However, much of the companys new plans depend on the success of the tie up with Continental AG of Germany.
The global tyre manufacturers have tied up with Metro Tyres for sourcing four million cycle tyres and tubes in the next four year period.
The tie up would increase the companys export turnover from the present Rs 15 crore to around Rs 60 crore during the four year period.
On the groups core competence area, Mr Chabbra said the company has projected an increase in the market share of 27 per cent from the current level of 22 per cent in the next few years.
The company, which
diversified and launched Ortem range of fans about a
decade ago, has introduced designer fans for niche sector.
B & B
opens branch at Nawanshahr
CHANDIGARH, May 9 An ever increasing number of professionals are now choosing Australia as their new home, said Mr Raj Bhandari, Managing Director of B&B Worldwide Immigration & Education Services Pvt Ltd. based at Manimajra here today. This is mainly due to the reduction of the visa processing time for immigrants.
Talking to The Tribune, Mr Neeraj Mishra, Director of B&B Worldwide, said the changed immigration laws of Australia have made the entry procedures quick and cost effective for professionals and traders.
B&B, headed by an
Australian citizen, opened branches in Nawanshahr and
Delhi to cater to the high demand in the northern region
Hyundai launches new models of Santro
In an attempt to accelerate the sales of its premium small car Santro, Hyundai Motor India has introduced two new versions of the car at nominal additional cost.
The new Santro zipDrive LS, an upgraded model of the existing Santro GLS I model with power steering and a new radiator grille, will be costlier by Rs 882 at Rs 3,56,500, a company release said here today.
Another new version Santro zipDrive GS has been priced at Rs 3,79,499 over the Santro GLS II price of Rs 3,75,248. It sports a new rear spoiler and all other features of the LS variant.
The two versions will replace the existing variants of the Santro. The company will, however, continue to sell the base model of the car, albeit rechristened as Santro LE with a new radiator grille and other standard features.
The LE has been priced at Rs 3,15,500 against the earlier price of Rs 3,12,551.
Hyundais Managing Director Y.S. Kim said the new versions are a result of the companys aim to give more value to the consumers over the feedback received over the last 19 months.
During the fiscal ended March 31, 2000, Hyundai sold 75,661 cars compared to 17,647 units in 1998-99. PTI
Daewoo camps at hill stations
Daewoo Motors India Limited today decided to provide special service facilities at key holiday destinations manned by trained technical personnel with Helpline cars for Daewoo customers driving out to hill stations.
From May 15 to June 15, Daewoo will hold summer holiday camps at Mussoorie, Nainital, Shimla, Kulu, Manali, Katra, Dharamshala and Dalhousie in the North, a company release said here today.
To ensure easy accessibility, Daewoo has installed banners en route and within the cities with details of the camps location and the Helpline number. Besides, DMIL is sending direct mailers to all its customers.
A photography contest is being organised. Customers can click pictures with their Daewoo vehicle and send them to the company. The best 300 photographs will get special gifts. A panel of judges will select the winning photographs. TNS
Car demand to grow
Indian passenger car demand is likely to grow by 11-15 per cent per annum in the long run following turnaround signs of the economy and availability of cheap auto-financing schemes, says rating agency, ICRA.
With the passenger car sales having increased by over 40 per cent in the first half of 1999-2000, the demand in the long run is likely to at about 11-15 per cent per annum, ICRA said in its latest report on Indian automotive components industry released on Tuesday.
The small car segment
was likely to witness intense competition following the
launch of three new cars produced by Telco, Daewoo and
Hyundai, ICRA said. With the introduction of Hyundai
Accent, Ford Ikon and GM Corsa, competition is expected
to increase in the mid-sized segment as well.
reduces net loss
ties up with TCS
turnover up 19 pc
acquires IT firm
Portal for school leaving students
For students in the subcontinent about to step out of school and into the world of competition, an exhaustive community site to cater to their needs and aspirations was formally launched here today.The buckleyourshoe.com, the brainchild of four undergraduate students of the Delhi School of Engineering, not only guides students in making informed choices about what and where to study, but also helps them in their complete personality development.
Company Chief Executive Officer Krishan Mohta told newspersons here that the site will have the first finishing school in the subcontinent and provide the students huge searchable data bases of educational institutions and vocational training organisations, hostel accommodation, private tutors and coaching institutes. PTI
Indian channels on Net for NRIs
Pentamedia Graphics, the entertainment graphics major, plans to commercially launch www.numtv.com in June.
It is mainly targeted at the NRIs living in the USA, to UK, Europe, West Asia, Africa, Australia and Singapore, who are unable to enjoy the best of entertainment from India, said Dr V Chandrasekaran, Chairman and CEO of Pentamedia Graphics Limited.
The company plans to bring Sony Entertainment TV, Sony MAX, CNBC India, Sun TV, Gemini TV, Udaya TV, Surya TV, Raj TV, Raj Digital Plus and other popular channels live on the Net.
Numtv.com offers users in different time zones the facility of viewing their favourite programmes at their convenience and even repeatedly if they so desire. Numtv.com is the first portal to offer its users Live as well as archived programmes in various languages round the clock.
A minimum of 56 kbps Internet connection, Windows Media Player 6.4, along with a hardware configuration of Pentium MMX and 32 MB RAM are the basic pre-requisites. The larger the bandwidth, the better would be the vividness of the video. TNS
Accident site map software
An accident site map (ASM) software has been developed for the Delhi Traffic Police to analyse accidents within Delhi and mitigate the number of accidents within the Capital.
The ASM software developed by R.M. Software Limited would help the Delhi Traffic Police to take appropriate measures to prevent accidents, Additional Commissioner of Police, Traffic, Ms Kanwaljeet Deol, said.
She said by using this software the traffic police would be able to take preventive measures like deployment of traffic personnel at sensitive and vulnerable sites, information dissemination for media/public briefings and for enhanced reporting to senior officials.
ASM is a Microsoft Windows based desktop Geographical Information System (GIS) application developed for accident analysis and querying.
The software permits the
user to view the accident data on a map, through the
conventional tabular form, as well as through graphs. The
user can thematically pinpoint the locations of accident
prone sites in the city. TNS
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