|Wednesday, June 21, 2000,
Punjab power tariff may rise by
tariff may rise by 8-10 pc
CHANDIGARH, June 20 the Punjab Government is set to increase the power tariff by 8 to 10 per cent for both the domestic and industrial sectors, it is learnt.
This follows a meeting of representatives of the Punjab Government and industry with Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee at the Prime Ministers residence in New Delhi last evening.
The Punjab Government was represented at the meeting by the Finance Minister, Capt kanwaljit Singh, and the Minister for Local Self Government, Mr Balramji Dass Tandon.
The Punjab industry was represented by four of the seven members nominated on a committee formed to sort out the extent of power tariff hike.
Highly placed sources said here this evening that the industry was asked to chip in Rs 200 crore for the cash-strapped Punjab State Electricity Board. At the meeting the industry representatives opposed the controversial free power supply to the farm sector.
The Prime Minister was assured that the Punjab Government would pay Rs 200 crore to the PSEB in lieu of free power supply to farmers.
To discuss the nitty-gritty of the tariff hike, a meeting is being held in Chandigarh tomorrow which is expected to be attended by the PSEB Chairman, members of the committee representing the industry and representatives of the Punjab Government.
For the industry there is expected to be a 24 paise across the board hike in the power tariff. With this the tariff for the SSIs will go up from Rs 2.31 to Rs 2.55, for the medium industries, it will go up from Rs 2.49 to Rs 2.75 and for large industries it will move up from Rs 2.91 to Rs 3.15.
This was agreed at the meeting with the PM, but the final decision will be taken at the meeting tomorrow.
Power supply to the domestic sector is subsidised to the extent of Rs 413 crore. The state government, which has no intention of abolishing subsidies, will raise about Rs 70 crore by effecting a 8 to 10 per cent hike in the domestic power tariff.
On its part the PSEB has committed to raise Rs 175 crore through cost-cutting measures and checking pilferage and transmission losses. The board, it is estimated, needs Rs 1300 crore to get out of the present mess.
The moot questions now asked are: (a) Will it be possible for the PSEB to raise Rs 175 crore given its huge losses made year after year? (b) How will the Punjab Government raise Rs 200 crore to bail out the PSEB?
Project delays cause Rs 32,000 cr loss
NEW DELHI, June 20 (PTI) India has suffered a staggering Rs 32,000 crore cost overrun of central projects till March this year and the government needs to take urgent steps to correct this anomaly, an apex chamber said here today.
The country has suffered by over Rs 32,000 crore on account of cost overrun in central projects till March 2000, primarily due to inordinate delays in government clearances, lack of funds and inter-ministerial coordination, Assocham said in a statement.
As many as 205 of the 452 central projects costing over Rs 20 crore have suffered a cost overrun of 60 per cent from Rs 52,987 crore to Rs 84,167 crore, it said.
To minimise the ever-increasing cost escalation, the chamber has stressed early establishment of task force or empowered committees for speedy implementation of contract packages, solving land disputes and for intensive monitoring of projects.
It said 43 rail projects, eight in the coal sector and on each in steel and power sectors were fund-starved while land acquisition and civil work delay took a toll on 34 railway projects, 19 coal projects and four in the power sector, it added.
Delay in awarding contracts is one of the major cause of cost escalations of 16 railway projects, 12 in surface transport and our in information and broadcasting, the Assocham statement said adding the slow progress in implementation of projects and delay in supplying of equipment also contributed to cost overrun in these sectors.
As per Assocham data, 36 coal projects suffered time overrun ranging between 2-189 months; 15 power projects faced 22-136 month delays; 62 railway projects of 2-32 months, surface transport projects of 1-32 months and information and broadcasting projects suffered time overrun of 24-132 months.
Projects in the mining
sector had the lowest time overrun of eight months
followed by steel projects of between 2-35 months,
telecommunication projects between 3-48 months and civil
aviation projects of 2-57 months it said.
Jardine: India still attractive
NEW DELHI, June 20 (PTI) Investment banking firm Jardine Fleming has downgraded Indian markets from overweight to neutral amid rising US interest rates but said in absolute terms India still remains an attractive investor destination.
India was a defensive play amid rising US interest rates. With rates reaching an inflexion point, we are downgrading the market from overweight to neutral, Jardine Flemings report on Asian Values for June said.
In absolute terms, however, India still remains attractive, Jardine Fleming said.
Stating that the Indian markets had overreacted to the near term concerns like higher US interest rates and the changes in the Morgan Stanley Composite Index, the report said that investors should buy stocks on weakness.
We found that various macro fundamentals supportive of higher equity prices, it said.
Jardine Fleming said it was adopting a more bottom-up approach on India and has identified software, pharmaceuticals, private sector banks and financial institutions and cement as its favourite sectors in the country.
On the software sector, Jardine Fleming said it was the largest sector in most Indian stock market indices and it has done more to put India on the global map than any other single factor.
The positive attributes to the sector includes solid and sustainable growth of over 50 per cent per annum over three to five years, it said.
No plan to leave India: Moulinex
CHANDIGARH, June 20 Moulinex, Frances 8 billion franc turnover group known for home appliances with a presence in 173 countries, is coming to India in a big way with more products and a stronger distributor network within a year or so.
This was announced at a press conference here today by Mr Laurent Cathala, Area Sales Manager of Moulinex, who looks after the groups products in the Indian subcontinent.
He denied a report carried in a Philips in-house publication that Moulinex was winding up to leave India.
Rajeev Wadhera, DGM
(Sales), Gravs Appliances, which manufactures products
for Moulinex, said starting with one product in May 1999,
the group in India has introduced 30 products, including
the most successful radiant heater, and achieved a Rs 20
crore turnover last fiscal. The turnover is expected to
reach Rs 40 crore this year.
Kill the mouse for mobile phones
CALCUTTA: Modi Telstra, the leading cellular service provider in the country, on Tuesday announced a new service which aims at making mobile phones a substitute of personal computers for receiving and sending e-mail.
Briefing newsmen here, Chief Operating Officer of Modi Telstra S Venkatraman said the service with the theme kill the mouse was the first of its kind in the country and had been named easymail keeping in line with Modi Telstras philosophy of making life easier.
The service being offered in technological partnership with allindia.com is being offered by Modi-Telstra to all its customers under two distinct features - dial-n-email and e-mail to voice-mail service which were being launched as a result of its recently announced strategic alliance with Satyam Infoway Limited.
Dial-n-email is a unique service by which all Modi Telstra customers can dial in and send e-mail messages from wherever they are, without the need of a personal computer. UNI
Low-power chips from Intel
SAN FRANCISCO: Intel Corp. Has introduced five new computer chips for laptop computers touted as the best way to increase processing speeds while conserving power.
Intel on Monday introduced a Pentium III mobile chip running at 750 megahertz that uses less than 2 watts when running on battery power, and a Pentium III at 600 megahertz that uses less than 1 watt.
Three new Celeron mobile chips running speeds between 500 megahertz and 650 megahertz also were introduced, including one that operates on less than 2 watts.
The company did not estimate how much battery life might be saved using the new chips.
The festest laptops until now used the 650 megahertz Pentium III speedstep chip announced in January.
Intel, based in Santa Clara, California, since October has sharply closed the divide in power and performance of processors between desktops and laptops with the introduction of the Pentium III chip and new plant technology. AP
E-commerce for farmers
CALCUTTA: ITCs international business division on Tuesday launched e-choupal, developed by ITC Infotech, in Bhopal to web-enable farmers in the local language.
ITC officials here said through Internet booths in villages, the first e-choupal which was christened as Soya Choupal and launched today, will give the soya farmers of Madhya Pradesh the latest local and global information on the weather, scientific farming practices and international market prices.
French firm captures Saatchi
PARIS, June 20 (AP) Frances Publicis today bought Britains Saatchi and Saatchi to create the worlds fifth-largest advertising company to be renamed Publicis Groupe SA, the two companies said in a statement.
The all-share deal will
give publicis vital access to the US market, where
Saatchi and Saatchi does half of its business, as well as
control of one of the best-known names in the British
Getting hot on cable TV
LOS ANGELES: The US Supreme Court has decided by a narrow margin that the US Congress went too far when it acted to restrict sex-oriented programming on cable television.
The courts ruling is certain to revive the debate about broadcasting explicit sex scenes and discussions on television, a potent issue in an election year.
It stems from complaints by Playboy Television, part of Hugh Hefners resurgent Playboy empire, that government action has inhibited the rights of broadcasters enshrined in the first amendment, part of which guarantees free speech.
If television broadcasts can expose children to the real risk of harmful exposure to indecent materials even in their own home and without parental consent, there is a problem the government can address, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his summary of the judgement.
However, the government decided to deal with the problem, it must do so in a way consistent with first-amendment principles, he continued.
The court concluded: Here, the government has not met the burden the first amendment imposes.
The subject of sex on television has become a big election-year issue. Candidates have to tread the line between appearing to condone sexually explicit programming and being labelled as opposed to free speech. The Guardian
BEIJING: Chinese researchers have developed an intelligent carpet that can identify an intruder.
The carpet can secretly photograph people who step on it, and if a person is an intruder, it alerts the police.
Researchers at the Harbin Engineering University in Chinas Heilongjiang province have invented the carpet as a security device.
Prof Yuan Libo, who headed the research says, that when someone steps on the carpet, it would send an optical fibre signal to a checking instrument, which will confirm whether the person is a trespasser or not by ordering a hidden camera to take a picture of the intruder.
If the photographic image does not match one in an image database, an alarm system is triggered.
Libo said the carpet is too common an article to cause an intruder to be careful of stepping on it. PTI
Export awards for Black Jack group
CHANDIGARH: Three all-India highest export awards have gone to Jalandhar-based Black Jack India and its subsidiary companies for the year 1998-99. The fourth in a row has been won by Black Jack Tools.
Incorporated in 1985, Black Jack India Ltd. is Indias number one hand tools export company. A recognised export house since 1992, this ISO 9002 company has been winning national awards since 1990. These awards include the prestigious Niryat Ratna Award for the year 1997-98, which was presented by Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee.
Black Jack India expects
a turnover of Rs 100 crore this year through
diversification in the hospitality business. By the end
of the year Black Jacks subsidiary Grand Windsor
Resorts will open Punjabs first five star hotel in
Jalandhar in association with Radisson.
Swaraj Engines says no to bonus
MUMBAI, June 20 (Reuters) Swaraj Engines Ltd has informed the National Stock Exchange it is not taking up the issue of bonus shares at its meeting scheduled for June 23. It was responding to the NSEs query on media reports that it would announce a bonus for shareholders. The board of directors meeting to be held on June 23 covers only the adoption of audited annual accounts for financial year 1999-2000 and recommendation of final dividend, it said.
Philips set-top boxes for Zee
NEW DELHI, June 20 (TNS) Philips, has entered into an agreement with Zee TV to provide set-top boxes that would help the channel to start direct-to-operator plan. With this set-top boxes Zee will be able to encrypt the signal and bring premium contents to its affiliated cable networks. This will help the Zee to offer more channels through the same satellite transponder, which they are also using for their present analogue channels.
Silverline lists at NYSE for $ 25
NEW DELHI, June 20 (UNI) Silverline Industries has priced its American Depositary shares at $ 25 each for listing on the New York Stock Exchange. The companys domestic price is ruling at around Rs 650.
PNB Gilts net jumps 54.4 pc
NEW DELHI, June 20 (TNS) PNB Gilts Limited has achieved excellent results during the financial year 1999-2000. The companys total income during the year has grown up by 75.4 per cent to Rs 263.76 crore as against Rs 150.41 crore in 1998-99. The profit before tax increased by 72.4 per cent to Rs 105.84 crore from Rs 61.40 crore. The profit after tax amounted to Rs 65.76 crore in 1999-2000 as against Rs 42.59 crore last year, an increase of 54.4 per cent.
Information Tech net up 92 pc
NEW DELHI, June 20 (UNI)
Information Technologies India Ltd (ITIL), today
announced a 92 per cent increase in its net profit after
recording almost similar growth in sales turnover for the
year ended May 2000. The company gave a dividend of only
10 per cent. Net profit jumped from Rs 36.5 crore to Rs
CHANDIGARH, June 20 The Apeejay Surrendra group today announced a tie-up with Standard Chartered Bank for its on-line trading venture enabling clients to invest and trade in securities listed at the NSE.
NEW DELHI, June 20 Union Minister of State for Small-Scale Industries and Agro and Rural Industries Vasundhara Raje is representing the country in the Southern African Summit organised by the World Economic Forum, which begins tomorrow in Durban.
NEW DELHI, June 20 UTI employees have threatened to launch agitation on July 1 in protest against the managements decision to downsize the Trust and hand over its operations to subsidiaries in the private sector. President of the Unit Trust Employees Association Harish Sharma said here the objective behind establishing UTI was to harness the investments of the common man to expand the capital formation base in the country and this purpose would be defeated if the UTI went ahead with its restructuring plans.
NEW DELHI, June 20 The Dhaka-based Rahimafrooz Batteries Ltd today announced the launch of a complete range of dry charged batteries in India. To be marketed under the brand name of Volta, the company said in a release here that the batteries have a charging time of four to six hours as against 24 hours in other batteries.
KURUKSHETRA, June 20
The Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry
(HCCI) expressed its concern on the reports published in
a section of press that fuel surcharge at the rate of 16
paise per unit is going to be levied on the electric
supply. According to a statement by the HCCI here today,
the industry is already reeling under heavy pressure
because of open market conditions and heavy taxation.
This levy if imposed would add to the woes of the
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