Monday, June 26, 2000,
Chandigarh, India







THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
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Joel Dunham, 5, from left, Jacob Dunham, 9, Joshua Dunham, 9, and Megan Dunham, 11, look on as a historic home is moved to a new location in downtown Bedford, Ind. on Tuesday
Joel Dunham, 5, from left, Jacob Dunham, 9, Joshua Dunham, 9, and Megan Dunham, 11, look on as a historic home is moved to a new location in downtown Bedford, Ind. on Tuesday. — PTI photo

Bajaj, LML sales fall
NEW DELHI, June 25 — Recessionary trend in the scooter industry, which registered a negative growth of 13.6 per cent in May, hit Bajaj Auto hard with its market share slipping to an all-time low of 38.17 per cent compared to 42.9 per cent market share in May, 1999.

25 lakh litres of oil stolen daily
OIL companies have come under sharp focus. The reason: some of their officials have been found involved in evasion of sales tax. The Petroleum Ministry needs to know other areas of malpractices through which consumers of petroleum products in Punjab alone may be fleeced by over Rs. 100 crore a year.




EARLIER STORIES
 

Is privacy on computer possible?
WASHINGTON, June 25 — You may not know it, but virtually every move you make on a computer these days can be watched by someone.


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Bajaj, LML sales fall

NEW DELHI, June 25 (PTI) — Recessionary trend in the scooter industry, which registered a negative growth of 13.6 per cent in May, hit Bajaj Auto hard with its market share slipping to an all-time low of 38.17 per cent compared to 42.9 per cent market share in May, 1999.

Hero Honda Motors, with an impressive 56 per cent growth in sales, led the rally in the motor cycles segment posting a 35.57 per cent growth in May, 2000, according to figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM).

Hero Honda, which clocked 82,280 unit sales in May, 2000, as compared to 52,645 units sold during the corresponding period last year, saw a jump in its market share to 48.43 per cent during the month, up from 42 per cent share in May, 1999.

Bajaj Auto sales dipped 23 per cent to 32,621 units in May this year as against 42,485 units sold during the same month last year.

Bajaj made up for some of the scooter segment losses in the motor cycle segment with the sales of its four-stroke bikes increasing 51.45 per cent to 42,045 units in May, 2000, as compared to 27,761 units sold during the same month last year.

Its market share in the motor cycle segment rose from 22.15 per cent in May, 1999, to 24.75 per cent.

Market forces swept the LML’s scooter market share to just over 21 per cent in May, 2000, down from about 25 per cent last year. Its sales declined 25.48 per cent to 37,261 units as against 50,005 units sold in May, 1999.

Buoyed by a robust rise of 35.57 per cent in motor cycle sales to 169,867 units in May, 2000, as compared to 125,298 units sold during the same period last year, two-wheeler sales posted 13.37 per cent growth to 312,710 units as against 275,832 units sold in May, 1999.

Escorts Yamaha was the major loser in the motorcycle segment with sales declining 22 per cent to 15,582 units in May, 2000, as compared to 20,057 units sold in the corresponding period the previous year.

Its market share fell to 9 per cent from a healthy 16 per cent the previous year.

TVS Suzuki, though clocking a 22.5 per cent increase in motor cycle sales to 27,853 units in May, 2000, as against 22,735 units sold previous year, lost two percentage points in market share to 16.4 per cent.

It, however, made up for the loss in the scooter segment where its market share rose to 14.35 per cent in May, 2000.

Moped sales rose 11.24 per cent or 57,389 units in May, 2000, as compared to 51,587 units sold in the same month the previous year.

Bajaj Auto nearly doubled its market share to 12 per cent with an almost 100 per cent increase in sales of its moped "Sunny" to 6,915 units in May, 2000, as against 3,520 units sold the last year.

TVS Suzuki saw its market share fall by one percentage point to 51 per cent while its moped sales went up 7 per cent to 61,275 units in May, 2000, as against 57,303 units sold during the corresponding period last year.

Similarly, Kinetic Engineering saw a 11.6 per cent increase in sales to 25,040 units as compared to 22,430 units sold in May, 1999, its market share declined to 21.5 per cent from 23.5 per cent the previous year.

Cumulative two-wheeler sales during the first two months of the current financial year clocked 14 per cent growth to 629,662 units as against 551,406 units sold in April-May, 1999.Top


 

25 lakh litres of oil stolen daily
By PD Sharma

OIL companies have come under sharp focus. The reason: some of their officials have been found involved in evasion of sales tax. The Petroleum Ministry needs to know other areas of malpractices through which consumers of petroleum products in Punjab alone may be fleeced by over Rs. 100 crore a year.

Oil tankers of dealers are calibrated by the Weight and Measure Department. Interestingly, the facility for calibration is provided by oil companies in their depots. As an independent agency W & M department should have their own facility in their own premises. In Punjab, calibration facility is provided by oil companies on their depots in Sangrur, Jalandhar, Bathinda, Pathankot and Amritsar. Measure of oil in tanker calibrated at one depot differs from that done in another depot by 50 to 60 litres per tanker. Why this discrepancy and who pockets the excess?

Sealing arrangement of tankers is very lax and induces tendency for pilferage and mixing. As a rule tankers should be sealed by senior functionaries but it is being done by the lowest officials. Drivers and officials connive which results in large scale pilferage and adulteration.

Petroleum products are sensitive to temperature variation. For 1C variation in temperature quantity of oil varies from 7 to 10 litre per tanker. When tankers are filled at a temperature of above 40C quantity of oil increases because the carrying underground pipes are at lower temperature by about 10C. Where goes the excess oil? When the tanker is emptied at the petrol pump in the underground tanks temperature is less by 10C. There is thus loss in quantity. The loss has to be borne by the petrol pump owner. Obviously no dealer would bear this loss. They pass on this loss to the consumers.

In Punjab about 2,500 tankers are filled daily in different depots. The total quantity filled daily is about 3 crore litre. As per modest estimate loss of 100 litre per tanker due to reasons given above leads to a total daily loss of 25 lakh litres. If average price of the petroleum product is taken as Rs. 18 per litre daily loss is about Rs. 45 lakh. Yearly loss thus is over Rs. 1.6 crore. Thus consumers of petroleum products in Punjab are being fleeced to the tune of over Rs. 100 crore a year on an average.

There are certain precautions which can reduce the incidence of such malpractices. Invoices of oil companies should mention the temperature at which filling is done. Calibration facilities should be independent of oil companies and outside their filling terminals. Sealing arrangement has to be upgraded and seals should be affixed by senior functionaries. There should be random checking of tankers.

Apart from the quantity loss being passed on to the consumer some times the quality of oil is much wanting. There is a waxing problem in diesel which chocks the fuel injection system. In petrol gumming problem surfaces from time to time which also chocks the fuel system of vehicles.

The poor quality of oils with further adulteration done by unscrupulous elements is cause pollution. The Pollution Control Board should also check the quality of oils at petrol pumps.Top


 

Is privacy on computer possible?
From Jay Dougherty

WASHINGTON, June 25 — You may not know it, but virtually every move you make on a computer these days can be watched by someone.

At work, your boss can use keyboard monitoring software through the corporate network to see how much of what you’re typing has to do with your job. Your e-mail can also be filtered and monitored.

On the Internet, the sites you visit can be logged, any bookmarks you create are there for the world to see, and information you provide in cyberspace registration forms can be catalogued, compiled, and sold to innumerable advertising agencies.

Even at home, if you’re hooked up to the Internet through an always-on DSL or cable modem connection, hackers can infiltrate your system, gaining access to valuable personal information or simply causing damage by deleting files.

"There is no such thing as privacy on a computer," says Thomas Mandel, an analyst at Sri International, a California-based computer research firm.

But can anything be done to protect your digital life from prying eyes? The answer is: "it depends upon where you are."

When you’re at work, your right to privacy while using a company’s PC is probably limited. Programmes such as winwhatwhere investigator (www.Winwhatwhere.Com) allow employers or others to stealthily capture every keystroke that you make on a networked PC, while snooping software such as snagit (www.Snagit.Com) can be directed to capture the screens of networked computers at specified intervals.

Recent studies suggest that around 30 per cent of all employers today are keeping tabs on their PC-connected employees.

Unfortunately, protecting your privacy from intrusions of this kind is next to impossible, since access to your PC at work is probably not entirely under your control. So your best defence of your privacy at work is common sense.

"Don’t use your work PC to search for a job if you don’t want your employer to know you’re looking, and don’t surf the web for things that are not justifiable," says Heidi Flewelling, a Director with New York-based Mainspring Consulting.

Other types of computer-related privacy intrusions you can do something about, though. There is lots of software around today that addresses real-world privacy threats that computer users everywhere face - whether they’re surfing the web or using a stand-alone PC in an unsecured environment.

Unless you take precautions, anyone can look at your PC and find out where you’ve been on the Internet. One reason this is possible is because of the existence of so-called cookies.

Cookies are bits of text sent by web sites you have visited. The text identifies you and describes any transaction you have made. Cookies were actually designed to solve a practical problem: they allow web servers to identify you quickly while you are browsing a web site or when you return to want.

The downside to cookies, though, is that they leave a digital trail on your hard drive of many of the places you have visited on the web. A savvy computer user — or a corporate snoop — can view the cookies on your computer at will.

One of the most respected programmes on the market for addressing the cookie dilemma - as well as other security concerns - is called blackbook, made by Blue Wolf Network. Blackbook, which works with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator, encrypts all the files that can be used to trace your activity online — including web addresses, bookmarks, cached images, and cookies.

At a cost of just under $10, Blackbook could be a wise investment for those who want a one-stop solution to Internet security. It’s available at Blue Wolf’s web site, www.Bluewolfnet.Com/blackbook.Htm.

Both Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator provide popular bookmark or "shortcut" organisation features. But there’s one problem: with both programmes, anyone using your computer can see exactly which sites you deem worthy of bookmarking.

Webroot software helps you put an end to open bookmarks with its private bookmarks programme, available in both freeware and commercial versions at www.Webroot.Com/down1.Htmprivatebookmarks. — DPATop


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OFFBEAT

Not just American toy
NEW YORK:
From content to culture, the Internet-born of American government need-is rapidly losing its US flavour as more computer users connect from abroad.

Some US-based search directories now accommodate speakers of languages such as French and Chinese. Sports sites highlight soccer rather than baseball. A few American e-commerce services such as Amazon.com accept payment by EuroCard.

These changes come as the USA cedes more control over Internet addresses and other policies. The California-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers will elect officers by continent this fall, as one way to limit the influence of US representatives.

"If the USA could have invented a device to export their culture and their policies and the whole fabric of the America experiment, they couldn’t have done better," said Don Heath, President of the non-profit Internet Society in Reston, Virginia.

As recently as a year ago, many europeans avoided the Internet, viewing it as "an American toy," said Liesbeth Hop, President of Pro Active International, an Internet research group based in Amsterdam. — AP

Oracle expert from Himachal
CHANDIGARH: Noel Yuhanna, a senior database consultant in a multinational corporation in the USA, has well translated into his book "Oracle8i-Database Administration" 15 years experience in Oracle, Informix and Sybase.

In dealing with various facets of Oracle8i, Noel Yuhanna has demonstrated an authority over the subject which makes the book useful also to entry-level DBAs, developers, project managers, system administrators or anyone interested in Oracle.

He has dedicated the work to the memory of his late father Manohar Lal Yuhanna, who died in a blast in Uganda while serving the Indian Embassy there. Noel Yuhanna and his wife Namrata both belong to Kotgarh in Shimla district — TNS

Indian scales new heights
CHICAGO: A 39-year-old Indian American engineer, who immigrated to the USA from Mumbai, is becoming a name to reckon with in luxury homes in Chicago’s affluent suburbs.

Polo Builders, set up by Hasan Merchant in his basement in 1986, has to date constructed over 500 homes. The current sales of the company are in excess of $40 million.

Merchant’s most ambitious project, of which he is particularly proud, is a 30,000 square feet mosque, said to be one of the largest in the United States. The mosque built at a cost of $9 million near Chicago, will open to its congregates in about two months.

Merchant grew up in Mumbai and graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Merchant initially concentrated on rehabilitation projects and condominiums on Chicago’s Gold Coast, the upscale apartments in Downtown Chicago overlooking Lake Michigan. In 1992, he built his first community of 20 homes in Westmont, a Chicago suburb, and has not looked back. — IANSTop


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TAX & YOU

Q: I retired as Assistant Registrar from Panjab University on 31.10.1999. I have been sanctioned furlough for six months w.e.f. 1.11.99 on half pay as one of the retirement benefit as per office orders of which a photocopy is enclosed. Furlough is kind of leave admissible in Panjab University after retirement.

Please advise whether the above leave salary being paid to me by the university after retirement is any taxable income or service benefit on which no tax is payable.

— D.R. Khera, Jalandhar city.

Ans: On the facts stated by you, you will be eligible to tax exemption in respect of encashment of leave at the time of retirement because the amount received by you is actually encashment of the leave after your retirement. Hence, necessary exemption would be permissible to you. It is also clear that after retirement you have been granted furlough for 6 months. The granting of furlough would not be a disturbing point in law in getting exemption in respect of encashment of leave.

Q: Being a member of the house building society I have purchased a plot from the Society on 3.12.88 for Rs 4200 (four thousand only), In Nov i.e. on 31.11.99. I have sold this plot for Rs 1.50 lakh.

I had purchased Stamp Papers for Rs 270 etc. I had paid Rs 14,000 to the society also for Development charges in 93.

I am a senior citizen and also Income Tax assessee.

Please let me know how much amount is exempted from it and how much amount I have to pay tax or where should I deposit for a short term to save tax.

It is necessary to show this sale in the present financial year or show in the next financial year.

— M.S. Miglani, Jalandhar

Ans: You will be liable to make payment of tax in respect of long-term capital gains accruing to you on selling your plot. The calculation of long-term capital gains will be done after taking into account the impact of Cost Inflation Index. The amount paid by you towards development charges to the society will also be allowed deduction from the gross long-term capital gains. The tax will be payable @ 20 per cent on the net long-term capital gains amount. As you have already sold the plot in November, 1999 you now cannot take any advantage of tax exemption because the period for making investment for saving capital gains is already over.

However, as a senior citizen you will be eligible for tax deduction u/s 88B to the maximum extent of Rs 10,000. Virtually, there will be no liability to tax in your case. However, please remember that it is necessary to show the details of the sale of the property while you file the Income-Tax return for the Financial Year 1999-2000 .Top


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MARKET SCAN

by J.C. Anand

On ice: hotel, textile & auto shares

THE performance of the corporate sector serves as a major input in the rise and fall of share prices on the stock exchanges. It is, therefore, wise for the investors to watch and analyse the working of the various sectors of industry and the corresponding units of the corporate sectors in industry to plan investment and sale of shares on a long-term basis.

Some of the sectors are not doing well and their shares are neglected. Hotel business is one, textiles is another. Such blue-chips as BASF India and Clariant are being quoted at prices which are perhaps the lowest for many years. The reason is that the specialty chemicals industry is not doing well due to poor demand for its products. Again, the caustic soda and soda ash industry is in a bad way, and even the industry leaders like Gujarat Alkali and Tata Chemicals are quoting at a heavy discount to their book value.

The investors should also be careful about some sectors of the ICE group. While the top software units are expected to perform well for at least two to three years and are likely to be quoted on the stock exchanges more on the basis of growth rate than on the present P/E ratios. The IT sector, however, may not be in that happy position. Already in the USA, the business is dwindling and many weak units have closed their shops. Many top analysts too have warned the investors to keep away from the dotcom companies.

In India too, there is some disquiet about this sector. There is a definite slowdown in the growth of cellular subscribers. According to a report, the number of new subscribers nationally has dropped to less than 80,000 and the operators are worried about the negative trend. There is an intense competition and lower rates are being offered by the companies to attract subscribers.

Another sector to watch and, be careful about, is the heavy automobile sector. The Ashok Leyland management has already warned its workers of the looming bad days to come. The demand for trucks is low and the new threat is from the import of used trucks and cars from foreign countries after January when the government will open the doors for such imports. Ashok Leyland as well as Telco are not expected to report better results for the current financial year.

Even the ancilliary industries, dependent on Maruti, Ashok Leyland and Telco will suffer in their sales and profitability. Ashok Leyland and Mahindra and Mahindra have already cut down their working days per week to adjust production to reduced demand and cut down heavy inventories. Even demand for tractors is slowing down.

The tea industry is also passing through a bad patch. Unseasonal rains, lower auction prices and growing costs of production are affecting the profitability of tea companies. Even Tata Tea is not expected to improve its results during the current year. The company may have to report lower net profit.

On the positive side, the infrastructural industries are doing well. The six sectors dealing with these industries are: electricity, steel, crude, refinery products, coal and cement. The pharmaceutical and the specialty chemicals industries are expected to move out of depression during the current year. Top


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AVIATION NOTES

by K.R. Wadhwaney

New airport near Mumbai not yet

THE Civil Aviation Ministry has deferred the construction of a Rs 20,000 crore international airport project in the Rewas-Mandwa area of Maharashtra’s Raigad district. The land of the project has, however, been bought.

There are two schools of thought on the project. Experts opine that another international airport in Mumbai is "must" to meet the growing traffic.

The other opinion is that the time is not yet ripe for another international airport. It will be a total waste of money. What anti-project people are suggesting is that Sahar Airport may be expanded and renovated.

Vested interests are working over-time to prevail upon the Civil Aviation Ministry and the Maharashtra Government to get the project scrapped. If the project is called off, it would help 40,000 residents of 14 villages to stay put.

The project is about five years old. In 1995 the Manohar Joshi Government had signed an MoU with a consortium led by the Hindujas. The consortium consisted of Mott McDonald Speedwings (British Airways subsidiary) and the UK Civil Aviation Authority.

The project has run into trouble because there is stiff opposition from farmhouse owners, politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen. A bulky file has been sent to Minister for Civil Aviation Sharad Yadav. He has to decide whether he should go ahead with the development plan or help the farm-house owners and the bureaucrats, who have bought property in the area.

Jet Airways scheme

Jet Airways has signed an agreement with several hotels to provide discount ranging from 15 to 40 per cent to passengers travelling with the airline to 39 destinations.

Discounts are offered to the passengers transiting through Mumbai, or visiting places like Goa, or serene mountains of Wynaad in Kerala or several hill stations and holiday resorts. Discounts will be provided to the passengers until September 30.

The airline is the first in Asia to fly the next generation B-737-800 aircraft. It has also placed an order for an additional 10 next generation B-737-700/800 aircraft with the Boeing Commercial Airplane Company. This is, however, subject to the government approval. If okayed by the government, the fleet will be inducted into Jet Airways’ fleet between January 2001 and May 2003.

A gimmick

Air India’s new scheme of appointing "Consolidators" is nothing but a gimmick. It is another name of the GSAs (General Sales Agents).

The scheme of "Consolidators" was in existence in the USA, where the national carrier was duped by quite a few agents. Now this scheme is being extended in other areas.

The International Air Transport Association agents get 9 per cent commission while GSAs earn 12 per cent. The Consolidators may get even more facilities and perks in the name of wooing business. Will Air India be gainer from this scheme?Top


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GOSSIP

— With steel prices firming up, Tisco will be a major beneficiary, so build up your portfolio with its shares in small lots, avers a renowned punter.

— In the past few trading sessions there has been a lot of action observed at the Himachal Futuristic Communications Ltd. counter, this scrip has caught the fancy of both the institutional and the retail investors.

— Buy Reliance Industries, as the scrip tops the list of priorities of many players, informs a well-known fund manager.

— According to a prominent fund adviser PFIZER is going through a phase where investment in the scrip could result in erosion of capital, so wait and watch to see where it is headed.

— A leading portfolio manager observes that the future for the Indian stock market is intrinsically linked to the Nasdaq and will continue to decide the movement in the price of scrips like Satyam Computers.

— Buy DSQ Software as it has caught the attention of a big Mumbai based operator.

— Lacklustre performance of Wartsila NSD warrants immediate disinvestment in the same.

— Fund managers are accumulating Zee Telefilms in large quantities, an upsurge in its price bears testimony to this, opines a well-known punter.

— A veteran market analyst considers buying Hindustan Lever before its stock split, more beneficial.

— It is reported that genuine fundbased buying is taking place at the Wipro counter; therefore invest with a medium term perspective.

— Large fund managers, as well as speculators, have become aggressive buyers at the Pentamedia Graphics counter, asserts a source close to the company management.

— A revowned financial analyst advises to closely watch the Cadila Healthcare counter before taking any investment decision.

— A fund manager is reportedly very bullish on Tata Telecom and has put a buy recommendation on the scrip.

— A prominent market researcher has recommended disinvestment from the Asian Paints counter.

— A leading market operator has shown considerable interest at the Digital Equipment counter, informs a revowned fund adviser.

— Madras Cement can witness an uptrend on the back of reports of hardening of cement prices and weather department’s forecast of a normal monsoon, comments a market expert.Top


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BIZ BRIEFS

Inflation dips
NEW DELHI, June 25 (PTI) — The annual rate of inflation fell for the second consecutive week ended June 10, 2,000 to 6.21 per cent on account of a sharp fall in the price of primary articles.

MUL meet
NEW DELHI, June 25 (UNI) — The Board of Directors of Maruti Udyog Limited will meet here tomorrow to approve the annual dividend for the 1999-2000 fiscal.

FII sales
MUMBAI, June 25 (PTI) — Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained net sellers in both equities and debt markets in the country taking the withdrawals during the month till June 22 to Rs 383.4 crore ($ 87.2 million). Top


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