Tuesday, October 2, 2001, Chandigarh, India





THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

India’s exports fall 2.3 pc during April-August
New Delhi, October 1
India’s exports during April-August, 2001-2002 dipped by 2.3 per cent as compared to the previous year, according to latest official data. Exports during the period are valued at US $ 17133.85 million as against the level of US $ 17537.57 million during April-August , 2000-2001.

Entrepreneurs asked to invest in Himachal
Shimla, October 1
Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, the Chief Minister Himachal Pradesh, has urged the entrepreneurs to invest in Himachal Pradesh to take advantage of the pollution free environment industrial peace, and abundant and cheap electricity.

Hero Honda sales jump
New Delhi, October 1
Hero Honda Motors today reported a 37.2 per cent rise in sales at 1.18 lakh motor cycles in September over 86,214 units in the same month last year.

  • Kinetic Luna

  • Honda Siel

  • Bajaj bikes sales up



EARLIER STORIES

 

Methane reserves explored in Rajasthan
Barmer, September 29
The government seems to have struck gold since many of the sites being explored in this region for oil and gas have been “certified to contain vast resources of oil and gas” which are likely to stem the country’s ballooning oil and gas import bills.

Now send e-mail sans computer
Jaipur, October 1
One will no more need a computer, Internet connection to send or receive e-mails. You can even send voice mails to your near and dear one settled abroad without a multimedia machine.

WB, IMF may be forced to give loans to corrupt US allies
Washington, October 1
The World Bank and IMF may once again be forced to give loans to America’s anti-terrorism allies regardless of how corrupt and incompetent they are, just as it happened during the Cold War.

Uttaranchal economy in the red
Dehra Dun, October 1
Uttaranchal is facing a severe financial crunch despite a special central package of Rs 300 crore to bail out the BJP-ruled state.

CORPORATE NEWS

IndusInd promoters to reduce stake
Kolkata, October 1
The promoters of IndusInd Bank are likely to dilute their stake by 16.25 per cent to reduce the promoters equity from 56.25 per cent to 40 per cent level by the end of this fiscal.

  • Sun Ceramics net rises 20 pc

  • Central Pulp net up

  • HLL to redeploy workmen

ROUND-UP

Herbal drug for asthma patients
New Delhi, October 1
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research would release “asmon”, a poly herbal formulation, for providing prompt relief and remedy to asthma patients in the Capital.

  • Oil prices dip again

  • AI ties up with Tata Infotech

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India’s exports fall 2.3 pc during April-August
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 1
India’s exports during April-August, 2001-2002 dipped by 2.3 per cent as compared to the previous year, according to latest official data.

Exports during the period are valued at US $ 17133.85 million as against the level of US $ 17537.57 million during April-August , 2000-2001. In rupee terms, the exports were Rs.80528.13 crore, which is 3.02 per cent higher than the value of exports during April-August , 2000-2001.

India’s exports during August 2001 are valued at $ 3630.52 million which is 1.06 per cent lower than the level of $ 3669.45 million in August 2000. In rupee terms the exports were Rs 17109.35 crore, which is 2.07 per cent higher than the value of exports during August, 2000.

India’s imports during April- August, 2001-2002 are valued at $ 21742.66 million representing a growth of 2.46 per cent over the level of imports valued at US $ 21221.21 million in April- August, 2000-2001.

Oil imports during April- August, 2001-2002 are valued at $ 6482.74 million which is 6.03 per cent lower than oil imports valued at $ 6898.57 million in the corresponding period last year.

Non-oil imports during April-August , 2001-2002 are estimated at $ 15259.92 million which is 6.54 per cent higher than the level of such imports valued at $ 14322.64 million in April-August, 2000-2001.

India’s imports during August 2001 are valued at $ 4370.28 million which is 9.62 per cent higher than the level of $ 3986.76 million in August, 2000. In rupee terms the imports increased by 13.09 per cent.

The trade deficit for April- August, 2001-2002 is estimated at $ 4608.81 million which is higher than the deficit at $ 3683.64 million during April-August, 2000-2001.

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Entrepreneurs asked to invest in Himachal
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 1
Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, the Chief Minister Himachal Pradesh, has urged the entrepreneurs to invest in Himachal Pradesh to take advantage of the pollution free environment industrial peace, and abundant and cheap electricity. Addressing the 3rd Regional Council and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of CII meeting here today, he said the areas where entrepreneurs could invest in hydel power generation, tourism, horticulture and fruit processing units, Information Technology, bio-technology and eco-friendly industrial units for which there was a vast scope of development.

He said that the present government had given added priority to the hydel power sector and had succeeded in getting work started on the projects with aggregate generation capacity of 7155 MW. He said that state government had formulated a plan to harness 10,000 MW of additional power by 2010 for which private investment would be welcomed.

He said that state government’s endeavour was to start the work on all the identified hydel projects in next two years with the help of the centre.

Mr Dhumal said that the myth that hydel power projects needed a long time to come into generation had been exploded with the commissioning 86 MW Malana hydel project in two years and nine months in the private sector. The entrepreneurs interested to set up their other industrial units could also take up mini and micro hydel projects and make captive use of power. He said that the state government was also trying to tie up with government of India for the purchase of power that would be produced in the state.

Referring to development of tourism, he said that the state government had allowed 10 years tax holiday on entertainment units and abolished toll tax at different places and put it only one place to avoid any inconvenience to the tourists.

The government was also providing Escort Services and a single officer had been made Nodal Officer to get all clearances for the convenience of entrepreneurs the procedures for land transfer, power availability and for various other matters had been simplified. He said that transport subsidy had been extended up to 2007 and efforts were afoot to get tax holiday for new units extended beyond March 2001.

Mr Harsh Gupta, the Chief Secretary, urged the entrepreneurs to come up with concrete proposal of projects and added the policy documents of the state of industries information technology and bio-technology provide fool proof guidelines for the purposes.

Mr H.S.Bhartia, Chairman of the CII, Northern Region, said that there had been tremendous growth in various sectors in the state in the last two three years and thanked the Chief Minister for having frequent interaction with the CII on issues related to industrial development and investment.
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Hero Honda sales jump

New Delhi, October 1
Hero Honda Motors today reported a 37.2 per cent rise in sales at 1.18 lakh motor cycles in September over 86,214 units in the same month last year.

The September sales were also up by 9.5 per cent as compared to 1.08 lakh motor cycles sold in August, 2001, a company spokesperson told PTI.

Cumulative sales (April-September 2001-02) increased 32.7 per cent at 6.36 lakh motor cycles against 4.79 lakh motor cycles.

Hero Honda’s highest selling motor cycle, the 100cc “Splendor” and the recently launched model “Passion” comprise about 80 per cent of its total sales.

The company also manufactures “Joy,” “CD100,” “CD100SS,” “Street Smart” and “CBZ” motor cycle models.

Hero Honda is a 26:26 joint venture between the Munjals family-promoted Hero group and Honda Motor Company of Japan. The rest of the equity is held by financial institutions and public.

Kinetic Luna
Kinetic Engineering has launched two upgraded versions of its popular moped Luna — Luna CVT and Luna Super 70.

The Luna CVT, a 70 cc moped, is priced at Rs 18,527 in Delhi and the Luna Super 70 is priced at Rs 16,795 in Delhi.

According to a company spokesperson, Kinetic has become the only two wheeler company in India to offer a full range of vehicles from mopeds, step-through’s, scooterettes, scooters and motor cycles.

Honda Siel
Honda Siel Cars has introduced a new edition of its City model range at the existing prices.

The all new range edition sports a new body coloured side protection moulding for enhanced aesthetics.

Mr A.M. Gupta, General Manager, Marketing, said the new introduction would strengthen the equity attached with the City brand.

Bajaj bikes sales up
Bajaj Auto (BAL) has recorded a 20.6 per cent rise in motorcycle sales at 53,142 units compared to 44,052 units in same month last year.

The sustained growth in the motor cycle segment was due to aggressive product launches in July, and each model, namely Boxer CT, Croma, Aspire and Eliminator had collectively contributed to our market share growth, BAL Vice-President R.K. Ravichandran said in a release here today. Agencies

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Methane reserves explored in Rajasthan
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Barmer, September 29
The government seems to have struck gold since many of the sites being explored in this region for oil and gas have been “certified to contain vast resources of oil and gas” which are likely to stem the country’s ballooning oil and gas import bills.

Exploration, both by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and various multinational companies, is currently underway in a big way at many places in southern Rajasthan. Hydro carbon dating on the Barmer-Sanchor basin and some other areas along the international border with Pakistan have yielded positive results.

This area has been classified as Class I on the pattern of existing sites at Mumbai, Assam, Gujarat besides the Krishna and Godavari river basins. Oil too has been struck at Nanuwali Kothi in Sriganganagar, exploration for which was done by Essar in collaboration with a firm of Holland. This was reported in The Tribune a few months ago.

Sources said the state government has received a communique from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) some time back informing them that the explorations had revealed that Rajasthan could produce 190 cubic feet of methane gas per day which would be enough to

generate 3,500 MW of electricity. For the time being, only one among the eight identified sites have been shortlisted for extraction of the precious natural reserve.

Vast reserves of methane gas have been found on the Barmer-Sanchor basin and the work for its extraction has been awarded to the Reliance Group. Tenders for this were floated at the international level and the rates quoted by the group were found “very competitive”. Further negotiations are presently underway and the final nod would be given any day now, the sources added.

It is for the first time in Rajasthan that such a prestigious contract is being awarded to an Indian company. The company is expected to invest more than Rs 800 crore on the project which will cover an area of 400 square km. The company will extract methane gas from layers of lignite from a depth of 400 - 500 metres.

When fully operational, the site will yield 20 lakh cubic metres of gas per day. The gas is capable of producing 500 MW of power. The area is spread over an area of 160 km by 40 km and is among the seven sites identified for the purpose. The reserves are estimated at about 550 million cubic square metres.

The sources said methane in almost 30 per cent of the site can be extracted easily and can be used to produce 2,700 MW of power. If the gas is not used for power generation purposes, more than 2,200 tonnes of Urea fertiliser can be prepared from it.

The reserves are so rich that it can uninterruptly supply gas by pipelines for cooking purposes to all the major towns of Rajasthan for the next 350 years. An added benefit is that the large quantities of water from the reserves can be pumped out and used for irrigation purposes in the arid wastelands of this region.

Other sites identified for exploration are Tanot, Dadewala and Baghi Tibba in Jaisalmer. Initial tests of the soil at Gudamalani area in Barmer too have shown vast reserves of oil and methane. So rich are the sites that at one of the wells oil itself spurted out at a depth of 1,910 metres. This well alone yielded 2,000 barrels of high quality crude per day during initial trials, the sources pointed out.
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Now send e-mail sans computer
Milap Chand Dandia

Jaipur, October 1
One will no more need a computer, Internet connection to send or receive e-mails. You can even send voice mails to your near and dear one settled abroad without a multimedia machine.

This might have been a distant dream sometime ago but it became a reality on Sunday when the Shyam Telelink launched its unique service — fonemail at Jaipur.

With the introduction of this fonemail service, through its phone service named Rainbow, the country has become a member of the elite club of nations which hitherto was limited only to some seven or eight countries. With the commencement of the fonemail service, Jaipur can now boast of being the first city possessing this latest information technology in the country.

Shyam Telelink has the licence to operate basic telephony services in Rajasthan and has set up India’s first truly operational multimedia broadband network in the state. The company has already invested a sum of Rs 400 crore and has plans to bring this figure to Rs 5000 crore in the next 10 years. It provides phone service under brandname “Rainbow”.

Introducing the phonemail technology at the inaugural function Mr Sunil Vohra, President of Shyam Telelink, said their customers would no more be required to be constrained to any medium like landline, fax, mail, etc. He would now be able to get access to any of these modes by a simple fixed or mobile phone connection from Rainbow.

Rainbow is currently providing private phone service in 15 towns of Rajasthan and is expected to reach 35 centres by the end of next year. It has so far enrolled 20,000 customers.

He says sending or receiving voice mail, e-mails, fax, etc. through fonemail will be hasslefree and faster and cheaper too. Any facility can be availed of at the rate of local phone call and nominal service charges. This will be so economical that the customer will save up to 60 per cent. How much will it cost will be known only after TRAI gives its nod to the tariff structure. TRAI is expected to clear the tariff by October 15 and its commercial launch will also begin on the same day.

Now there is no need to log on to the computer to find out whether there is any e-mail for him. Customer will be informed by the fonemail service whenever there is a message or mail for him even while on travel.
Top

 

WB, IMF may be forced to give loans to corrupt US allies

Washington, October 1
The World Bank and IMF may once again be forced to give loans to America’s anti-terrorism allies regardless of how corrupt and incompetent they are, just as it happened during the Cold War.

Veteran World Bank economist William Easterly told the Washington Post newspaper what many of his colleagues in the bank and IMF dare say only privately that the long-term economic implications present “huge grounds for concern.”

“It is obvious that there is political pressure now to expand lending to countries that are going to be allies in the war against terrorism,” he said.

Easterly cited the disastrous experience of similar action during the Cold War when the Bank and IMF were forced to assist corrupt regimes such as those of Mobutu in Zaire because he was supposed to be anti-Communist and a US ally.

At the IMF, the collapse of independence was already evident, observers said. In a press conference last week, first Deputy Managing Director Anne Krueger justified loans to Pakistan, America’s new anti-terrorism ally, while it continues cross-border terrorism in Kashmir.

Denying that the release of a loan to Pakistan was influenced by political considerations, she said: “Pakistan was already in shape as they had been performing well. It so happens that they were already fortuitously there, or fortuitously at least from this viewpoint of timing.”

After September 11, the Post said, the political atmosphere was “transformed — so at Wednesday’s meeting, Board members representing the IMF member countries heaped praise on Islamabad’s economic performance.”

Furthermore, Pakistan firmed up its prospects for receiving a larger, three-year loan it has been seeking.

Board members representing G-7 countries had previously insisted that Islamabad must cut defence spending to qualify for such a loan. They refrained form making such demands on Wednesday, according to the senior IMF staffer.

Easterly said “in a way, this is really redoing some of the big mistakes of the Cold War. We did the same thing then — we picked out countries that were far-from-desirable recipients of foreign aid, but just because they were on our side, we gave them aid, and world bank and IMF loans too.”

Citing the case of Mobutu Sese Seko, the Zaire despot, Easterly added: “Mobutu got nine IMF and World Bank adjustment loans, which is amazing considering what was known about his being corrupt and doing everything possible to destroy his country’s economy. Now it looks like the same mistakes could be made again.”

It all adds up to a wrenching twist of irony for the IMF and World Bank, said the Post, that while they view the anti-globalism forces as ill-informed, circumstances “are propelling them towards doing precisely what their critics accuse them of—propping up inefficient, corrupt regimes; providing quick dollops of cash that stave off crises only temporarily; and piling loans on countries that may well waste the money and fall deeper into debt.” PTI

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Uttaranchal economy in the red
Tribune News Service

Dehra Dun, October 1
Uttaranchal is facing a severe financial crunch despite a special central package of Rs 300 crore to bail out the BJP-ruled state.

While talking to The Tribune Mr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, Finance Minister of the hill state, the average outflow of money from the state exchequer as part of the annual plan is Rs 200 crore as against the revenue receipts of less than Rs 150 crore including Rs 94 crore from the Centre.

The Finance Minister attributed the dismal situation to the ever-increasing burden on account of payment of salaries. The monthly expenditure on salaries to the government employees is Rs 90 crore. After salaries, interest payment was the biggest component of the Budget as the monthly liability tunes to 35 crore.

The other committed monthly expenditures of the state government are Rs 33 crore on government aided educational institutions, Rs 5 crore on pension, Rs 10 crore as aid to local bodies and Rs 27 crore on other expenditures.

In reply to a question, the FM said that for the first time the state witnessed worst economic crisis during the second week of September when the overdraft ran up to Rs 110 crore. The Central Government was approached immediately and Rs 94 crore were released subsequently, from the special package of Rs 300 crore to meet the crisis.

But at the same time, Central Government has warned the Uttaranchal Government that it was not in a position to bail to the state out any further due to its own financial constraints.
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Pepsi’s appeal admitted
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 1
A Division Bench of the Delhi High Court today admitted Pepsi’s appeal against single judge’s Mr C.K. Mahajan’s order. The Division Bench comprising Mr Justice Arun Kumar and Mr Justice R.C. Chopra, after hearing Pepsi’s counsel Kapil Sibbal, senior advocate, passed an order directing that all observations made in a single judge’s order were interim only and they would in no manner prejudice statutory rights of the parties.

Coca-Cola has been directed to file its reply to Pepsi’s petition within two weeks and appeal will now be heard on November 29 by the Bench.

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CORPORATE NEWS

IndusInd promoters to reduce stake

Kolkata, October 1
The promoters of IndusInd Bank are likely to dilute their stake by 16.25 per cent to reduce the promoters equity from 56.25 per cent to 40 per cent level by the end of this fiscal.

The two promoter companies — Indusind Enterprise & Finance (IEFL) and IndusInd International Holding Limited (IIHL) — currently hold 31.25 per cent and 25 per cent of the total equity of the bank, respectively.

Bank Managing Director Bhaskar Ghosh told reporters here today “as per the RBI directives, the promoters of private sector banks have to bring down their exposure to 40 per cent. The IndusInd promoters are likely to dilute their stake to that level by March, 2002”.

Sun Ceramics net rises 20 pc

Sun Earth Ceramics has posted a 20 per cent growth in the net profit at Rs 41.46 crore for the financial year ended June, 2001, as compared to Rs 34.37 crore in the previous fiscal.

The Board of Directors has recommended a final dividend of Rs 0.50 per share, taking total payout to Rs 2 per share for 2000-01, the company said in a release here today.

It had announced an interim dividend of Rs 1.50 per share (Rs 10 face value) earlier.

Central Pulp net up

Central Pulp Mills announced its financial results for the year ended June 30, 2001. The company has recorded a turnover of Rs 613.43 crore. The net profit stood at Rs 30.34 crore. The earning per share works out to be Rs 11 per share. The company paid an interim dividend of 15 per cent, which is recommended to be treated as final.

HLL to redeploy workmen

HLL, which had to close down its thermometer plant in Kodaikanal area recently in the wake of complaints about environmental hazards,has decided to redeploy all its 130 workmen in the unit to the company’s export oriented unit in Kandla.

Top company sources told PTI that there would be no adverse impact on the Kodai workmen’s existing wages and other terms and conditions of service following this decision. Agencies

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ROUND-UP

Herbal drug for asthma patients

New Delhi, October 1
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) would release “asmon”, a poly herbal formulation, for providing prompt relief and remedy to asthma patients in the Capital.

The drug developed by the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata, a laboratory under the CSIR would be launched in both syrup and capsule form, CSIR sources said here today.

The revolutionary medicine, which was first introduced in Kolkota, helps in controlling asthma symptoms including acute breathing problem.

The product has received phenomenal success in providing relief and remedy to a large number of people in Kolkata and it was found to have gradually reduced the number of beta agonist puffs needed by patients per day. Many patients have even stopped the puffs completely after taking Asmon. UNI

Oil prices dip again

London
Oil prices slumped again on Monday, adding to a 20 per cent fall in the last two weeks, after OPEC exporters decided against further supply curbs as the global economy slows.

European benchmark Brent crude oil futures fell 56 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $22.70 per barrel by 1145 GMT.

Fears of a falling demand due to a slowing global economy and reluctance by the OPEC to reduce supply have weighed heavily on markets since mid-September. Reuters

AI ties up with Tata Infotech

Mumbai
Air-India has signed a Rs 9 crore deal with Tata Infotech for comprehensive maintenance of IT systems and facilities management services.

The agreement covers both “preventive” and “breakdown” maintenance. Tata Infotech will be responsible for ensuring system availability of more than 99.5 per cent on a round-the-clock basis.

The systems are functional at AI’s Kalina-based old airport complex, corporate office at Nariman Point and the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at Sahar. PTI

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BIZ BRIEFS

Dr Mangla Rai
New Delhi, October 1
The architect of India’s oilseeds revolution, Dr Mangla Rai, is likely to become the next Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research with the Agriculture Minister, Mr Ajit Singh, clearing his name for the apex farm research body’s top post. TNS

Knitting contest
Chandigarh, October 1
Vardhman Spinning and General Mills, Ludhiana, a knitting yarn manufacturing company is organising India’s biggest hand knitting contest in more than 500 schools with participation of above 1,00,000 students from October 3, 2001. The contest is named as ‘Aao bune knitting contest’. TNS

SBP branch
Chandigarh, October 1
Mr S.C. Madan, Asstt General Manager, State Bank of Patiala today inaugurated full computerisation of Tanda branch. Speaking on the occasion, he said that with the computerisation of Tanda branch, 303 branches of the bank have been computerised. TNS

IndusInd Bank
Kolkata, October 1
IndusInd Bank has decided to shift its focus from wholesale to retail banking and invest Rs 250 crore for technology upgradation to connect its expanding branch network in the country. As part of its foray into retail banking, the bank have decided to increase the number of branches from 31 in last year to 100 by end this fiscal, he said. PTI

Bata factory
Mumbai, October 1
Bata India declared a lockout at its factory at Peenya in Bangalore from today. There would be minimal loss to sales and production as the footwear manufacturing activity at this factory would be shifted to other factories and associate manufacturers. PTI

Markets closed
Mumbai, October 1
All principal markets including country’s two premier stock exchanges (BSE, NSE), forex, inter-bank call money, and all the commodities markets such as sugar, metal, cotton, edible oils and bullion will officially remain closed tomorrow on account of a holiday on Gandhi Jayanti. UNI

Fiat Palio
Mumbai, October 1
Fiat India said today the response for the Palio, launched two days ago, has been specially more towards the high-end “FLX and GTX” versions. The company in a statement here today said it has already sold 1,100 units since its launch on September 29, and Managing Director M.P. Bianchi expressed satisfaction with the response from customers. A spokesman said the company was producing 70 cars a day at its Kurla plant. PTI

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