Wednesday, October 10, 2001, Chandigarh, India





B U S I N E S S

Nestle, SmithKline tie up with Nabard
Chandigarh, October 9
Dairy farmers in Punjab and Haryana will not have to worry about the sale of milk. Nestle India and SmithKline Beecham, in partnership with Nabard, will tie up with the dairy farmers for purchase of milk and extend them marketing support. By the end of the year, around 700 farmers in both states are likely to benefit.

Board to address SSIs problems
Shimla, October 9
Mr P. K. Dhumal today outrightly rejected the demand to relax the clause which makes it mandatory for the industries to employ at least 65 per cent from within the state and said the government was encouraging industrialisation only to create job opportunities for the Himachalis.

Arrest warrants against Zee chief
Jammu, October 9
City Judicial Magistrate Hari Om Singh, in a criminal complaint, has issued bailable arrest warrants against Mr Subhash Chandra, Chairman, Zee Network, Mumbai, and others of Siti Channel, Jammu, for securing their presence in the court on November 10, 2001.



EARLIER STORIES
THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
Inspection notices to Reliance firms
New Delhi, October 9
The government is understood to have slapped inspection notices on about 100 companies, including those of Ketan Parekh, Nirmal Bang and Shankar Sharma, allegedly involved in the share price scam early this year.

Infosys chief sees threat from China
Sydney, October 9
The Indian IT industry would have to work harder to ward off stiff competition from China in the near future, cautions Infosys chief N.R. Narayana Murthy.

400 pigeons to lose jobs
Bhubaneswar, October 9
For more than half a century homing pigeons acted as faithful couriers for the Orissa police. Now, nearly 400 of them are set to lose their jobs because the government cannot pay those who task the birds.

High import duty hits vanaspati industry
New Delhi, October 9
The Indian Vanaspati industry is squeezed from all sides with the government pegging import duty on crude palm oil, the main raw material in manufacture of vanaspati, at very high levels and Nepal dumping cheap cooking medium in the country.

Plea to set up transport regulatory body
New Delhi, October 9
Perturbed over the growth in corruption in inter-state transfer of goods, goods vehicle owners have urged the government to put in place an effective regulatory mechanism in the country.

ROUND-UP

India’s growth pegged at 6 pc
Washington, October 9
World Bank’s private lending arm IFC has projected a 6 per cent growth for India this year despite the economic slowdown even as it warned that political and financial scams were damaging investors’ confidence.

  • Swissair to cut 9,000 jobs
  • Sony to invest in software group


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Nestle, SmithKline tie up with Nabard
Shveta Pathak
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 9
Dairy farmers in Punjab and Haryana will not have to worry about the sale of milk. Nestle India and SmithKline Beecham, in partnership with Nabard, will tie up with the dairy farmers for purchase of milk and extend them marketing support. By the end of the year, around 700 farmers in both states are likely to benefit.

Under the agreement the farmers identified by these companies will get loan to buy milch cattle and required infrastructure from banks. The banks, in turn, will be re-financed by Nabard.

Nestle and SmithKline will purchase milk from these farmers regularly. The companies will advise the farmers on good quality cattle, provide animal feed at concessional rates and free veterinary services.

“With this arrangement, the farmers, who make special efforts to sell the milk, will not have to bother on this front. The companies will take care of it and also assure good quality milk production”, said Mr A. Ramanathan, Chief General Manager, Nabard.

The rate of milk will be decided by the companies in accordance with the price in the market.

As the companies will identify the farmers for loans, the probability of non-recovery of loans or misutilisation of funds will also be minimised. “It will be a win situation for all parties involved and moreover, we need not worry about the recovery aspect”, said he.

While in Punjab, the Punjab State Co-operative Agricultural Development Bank (PSCADB) will provide loans to the farmers initially, talks are on for a tie-up with more banks in both the states. The farmers will get loans at 13 per cent-14 per cent interest, whereas Nabard will charge between 7.5 per cent and 10 per cent for refinancing from the banks. There is no maximum limit on loans to be sanctioned and the repayment time is five years.

Loans will be given considering the land holding, requirement, etc of the individual. “Another benefit the farmers will get is that the loans will be given within 15 days”, said Mr Ramanathan.

At present, Nestle procures around 9 lakh litres of milk daily against its capacity to process 12 lakh litres. SmithKline, on the other hand, procures 1.2 lakh litres a day and has the capacity to process around 1.5 lakh litres. “The demand being substantial and constantly increasing, we are sure that these companies will carry on with the agreement “, he said.

Nestle is already covering around five districts from where it purchases milk and will extend its operations shortly to other districts in both states, said Mr Ramanathan.

On the basis of experience with these companies, Nabard plans to enter into an agreement with more companies. 
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Board to address SSIs problems
Tribune News Service

Shimla, October 9
Mr P. K. Dhumal today outrightly rejected the demand to relax the clause which makes it mandatory for the industries to employ at least 65 per cent from within the state and said the government was encouraging industrialisation only to create job opportunities for the Himachalis.

However, the government would consider to set up a board to address the problem of small scale industries.

Inaugurating a symposium on “Impact of WTO on small scale industries” organised by the “Laghu Udyog Bharti” here he said there was no dearth of skilled manpower in the state and the demand for reducing the percentage of local employment from 65 to 35 was misplaced. As the public sector was gradually shrinking in the wake of the economic reforms, the prime concern of the government was to create maximum jobs in the private sector. This was in fact the main objective of the new industrial policy, besides revenue generation. At present there were over 29,000 industrial units in the state with an investment of Rs 645 crore and 1.23 lakh persons are employed.

He said coordination committees would be set up at the district and the subdivisional levels headed by a Deputy Commissioner, and subdivisional magistrates, respectively, to ensure that the truck unions did not exploit the industries and vice versa.

He would take up the state’s case for extension of income tax holiday to new industries up to 2007. The centre had already extended the benefit of transport subsidy for the next five years and it would be appropriate that the income tax holiday incentive was also extended.

It would also urge the Centre to direct banks to simplify the rules for sanction of loans to the small scale industries.

He said the Brotiwala-Parwanoo link road was being constructed at a cost Rs 70 lakh on priority.

The government was providing single-officer escort services to entrepreneurs, besides creating investment-friendly environment in the state, to ensure that they did not face any problems in securing various clearances.

Dr S.S. Aggarwal, national President, Laghu Udyog Bharti, said there was vast scope for creating employment opportunities in the state by exploiting tourism, hydro and industrial potential which would also generate income. Proximity of the state to Delhi was an added advantage for setting up of fruit and food processing units as it provided ready market.

As electricity is the cheapest in Himachal power intensive units like oxygen and nitrogen manufacturing plants, electrochemical and electroplating units can be set up in the state.

Mr Amir Singh, Vice-President of the association called for waiving the limit of Rs 45 lakh annual turnover for sales tax concession and increasing its period from 5 to 7 years in developing industrial areas.
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Arrest warrants against Zee chief
Tribune News Service

Jammu, October 9
City Judicial Magistrate Hari Om Singh, in a criminal complaint, has issued bailable arrest warrants against Mr Subhash Chandra, Chairman, Zee Network, Mumbai, and others of Siti Channel, Jammu, for securing their presence in the court on November 10, 2001.

The warrants have been issued on a complaint filed by Sunil Kumar, son of the late Inderjit Sharma, a resident of Gurah Bakshi Nagar, Jammu.

In the complaint, it was submitted that the complainant launched a TV quiz show, “Kaun Banega Lakhpati” (KBL). In order to telecast the show, the complainant approached Siti Channel, Jammu. The channel agreed to telecast the show from its Jammu channel with the condition that the show should be in association with Siti Channel, Jammu, which is a concern of Zee Network.

The show was telecast on Siti Channel from March 23, 2001, on three days a week which continued up to April 2, 2001. The channel suddenly stopped the telecast of the show. The accused had already received Rs 93,000 from the complainant in advance on the direction of Mr Chandra.

It was alleged that the accused intentionally induced the complainant to hand over the property, postdated cheques to Siti Channel. It was further alleged that the accused demanded a security of Rs 50,000 and Rs 20,000 in advance in violation of the terms and condition of the agreement.

Moreover, the act of the discontinuation of the show without assigning any justification has caused great damage to the mind and reputation of the complainant.
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Inspection notices to Reliance firms

New Delhi, October 9
The government is understood to have slapped inspection notices on about 100 companies, including those of Ketan Parekh, Nirmal Bang and Shankar Sharma, allegedly involved in the share price scam early this year.

The notices issued by the Department of Company Affairs to as many as 94 companies are believed to be on the basis of the report of preliminary investigation by SEBI into the recent market scam.

Inspection has also been ordered into six companies of Reliance, following complaints from Raashid Alvi, MP, relating to the group’s alleged diversion of funds garnered from public offer of Reliance Petroleum.

Official sources said the inspection notices to these companies were issued recently under Section 209 A of the Companies Act.

Out of the 94 companies, believed to have been probed by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on stock market scam that was detected within weeks of presentation of Budget for 2001-02, over a dozen belonged to or were associated with Ketan Parkeh and Anand Rathi groups, sources said.

The DCA is also inspecting books of three companies associated with Nirmal Bang, along with six belonging to Shankar Sharma, R.K.Damani (nine), Ajay Kayan (seven) and foreign broking outfits of CSFB and JM Morgan Stanley.

Meanwhile, the DCA has communicated to Alvi that inspection under 209 A of the Companies Act has been ordered in Reliance Petroleum, Reliance Industries, Reliance Filament, Reliance Industrial Infrastructure, Reliance Enterprises and Lavanya Holdings and Trading.

Many companies that witnessed sudden spurt in their share prices and then fell sharply after February, have also come under DCA scrutiny. PTI
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Infosys chief sees threat from China

Sydney, October 9
The Indian IT industry would have to work harder to ward off stiff competition from China in the near future, cautions Infosys chief N.R. Narayana Murthy.

"As China becomes stronger, it sends a clear signal that we in India have to work harder to stay ahead," Murthy, the Chairman and Chief Executive of the company, said here.

Murthy said he admired China for showing "great discipline" and for being proactive in discovering and capturing new export markets. With China "working furiously" on developing an English-speaking workforce, it would be hard for the Indian IT market to ignore its potential, he said.

Murthy is touring Australia as he was invited to address the cancelled Commonwealth Business Forum. The forum would have been a part of CHOGM in Brisbane. The meeting has been put off because of the U.S. and its allies began strike against international terrorism.

The leading Indian corporate identity, however, kept most of his appointments and even addressed a gathering of Australian IT professionals in Melbourne.

Murthy told reporters here that his company was on its way to meeting the second-quarter profit targets. The ongoing American war against terrorism and the global economy slowdown were not going to impact the company prospects, he said.

Infosys will deliver its second-quarter report on Wednesday at its Bangalore headquarters. The Indian multinational is likely to report revenue of between $131 million and 134 million in the quarter finishing September 30. The earnings per share for its American depository shares are likely to be 29 to 30 cents.

Considered one of the pioneers of the booming Indian IT revolution, Murthy urged Australia to lead the world in biotechnology as it is well placed to do so.

"Australia has great potential if it seizes the initiative in bioinformatics and biotechnology. You have great universities and you have great scientists and you can become one of the leading nations in the area of biotechnology," he said in his Melbourne address. "In the new era, you will be leaders," he added. IANS

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400 pigeons to lose jobs

Bhubaneswar, October 9
For more than half a century homing pigeons acted as faithful couriers for the Orissa police. Now, nearly 400 of them are set to lose their jobs because the government cannot pay those who task the birds.

Officials say the state police pigeon service, started way back in1946, is becoming redundant because of e-mail and the Internet, and that two-thirds of the 600 pigeons with the department would have to go.

"We are going to retrench the pigeons to save about Rs. 5.4 million we spend annually on them," a finance department official said.

The police bought the pigeons of Belgian Homer species after World War II to launch a courier service in a coastal state where repeated floods and cyclones make communications often near impossible.

The birds have proved more than useful, rendering yeoman's service during elections and natural disasters by carrying vital messages from one place to another.

The birds could fly 700-800 km to deliver messages and return to the home centre. When Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru visited Orissa in 1948 to lay the foundation stone for the Hirakud dam, a Belgian Homer pigeon flew ahead of him carrying messages from Cuttack.

The birds also played a stellar role during the floods of 1982 when all communications to a coastal Orissa town were cut off. With wireless links snapped, pigeons were the only means of messaging between the beleaguered cities.

Even during the 1999 supercyclone, the birds ferried important messages across the devastated zone.

Between 1960 and 1973 more then 1,000 pigeons were used by the police service. Now they are used only in the districts of Koraput, Bolangir, Phulbani and Puri. The life span of a pigeon is 15 to 20 years.

Many of them have died due to both known and mysterious diseases. A state audit had dubbed the service a wasteful expenditure in modern times.

The role of pigeons has been progressively shrinking in view of the information technology boom.

The police pigeon department employs 32 constables, an Assistant Sub-Inspector and some sub-inspectors. Officials say these men can be transferred to other departments as and when there are vacancies.

The police has decided that 200 of the "sacked" pigeons would be kept in Cuttack and Angul and the rest would be handed over to the wildlife department.

Homing pigeons were used to carry messages in both Greece and China in ancient times, and by the 16th century pigeon postal services began to emerge.

Prior to the age of electronic communication, pigeons were considered one of the most reliable forms of communication.

During World War I, pigeons carried thousands of messages that saved many hundreds of lives. The birds continued to be used in World War II too. The birds flew through enemy fire, and most amazingly completed their missions. IANS
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High import duty hits vanaspati industry
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 9
The Indian Vanaspati industry is squeezed from all sides with the government pegging import duty on crude palm oil, the main raw material in manufacture of vanaspati, at very high levels and Nepal dumping cheap cooking medium in the country.

In a representation to the Government, the Indian Vanaspati Producers’ Association said the duty charged on crude palm oil was fixed on a tariff value of $ 337 while the average landed price of crude palm oil had come down to around $ 245. In other words the industry pays customs duty on the base price of $ 337 which is higher by $ 92 per annum.

The industry’s woes have been compounded as the exchange rate of the rupee has fallen from Rs 47 per dollar to around Rs 48 per dollar.

This has put the Indian vanaspati industry at a tremendous disadvantage vis-a-vis imports of vanaspati from Nepal. The competitive cost advantage to a manufacturer in Nepal is around Rs 12 per kg.

The association suggested that the government should put vanaspati and edible oils in the negative list for duty exemption at the time of renewal of the Indo-Nepal Trade Treaty in December 2001.

It also said that Indian vanaspati manufacturers be permitted to import crude palm oil at the same rate at which export duty on finished product is levied by the Nepal Government, which is only 5 per cent.
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Plea to set up transport regulatory body
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 9
Perturbed over the growth in corruption in inter-state transfer of goods, goods vehicle owners have urged the government to put in place an effective regulatory mechanism in the country.

In a representation to Minister of Road Transport Maj-Gen B.C. Khanduri, the All-India Confederation of Goods Vehicle Owners’ Association said a road transport regulatory authority in each state which will oversee the operation of road transport with a view to ensuring that various rules and regulations concerning or having bearing on road transport are judiciously enforced.

The confederation noted in its resolution that in most cases the states deviate from the underlying objectives of various provision of the Motor Vehicles Act, mostly for the sake of convenience.

The government has also been urged to abandon the national permit scheme. 

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NDDB posts 565 cr turnover
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 9
National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) has corporatised its units, including the Mother Dairy, Delhi and the Fruit and Vegetable Project popularly known as SAFAL, as part of its restructuring process and its efforts to enhance operational effectiveness. Releasing its annual accounts for the last financial year 2000-01, NDDB’s turnover was pegged at Rs 565.59 crore with an excess of income over expenditure to the tune of Rs 99.7 crore.

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ROUND-UP

India’s growth pegged at 6 pc

Washington, October 9
World Bank’s private lending arm IFC has projected a 6 per cent growth for India this year despite the economic slowdown even as it warned that political and financial scams were damaging investors’ confidence.

Annual growth is expected to remain at around 6 per cent in India, International Finance Corporation said, adding that uncertain fiscal and regulatory conditions, inadequate infrastructure and slow pace of reforms impede growth.

To sustain high growth in India, IFC in its annual report released today said there was need to pursue more vigorously business oriented policies and ambitious privatisation programmes. PTI

Swissair to cut 9,000 jobs

ZURICH: Swissair, struggling to come back from a financial collapse, has said it will cut 9,000 jobs world-wide and offer reduced-price tickets to lure more customers.

Swissair chief Mario Corti told an employee assembly about the job cuts, which represent nearly 13 per cent of Swissair’s 71,000 workers, spokesman Rainer Maier said.

Maier said the meeting was “very emotional” and that the 2,500 employees who had gathered in an airport hangar to hear Corti greeted him with a standing ovation and chants of “Corti, Corti.” AP

Sony to invest in software group

TOKYO: Sony Corp said on Tuesday it would inject 14.9 billion yen ($124.4 million) in capital to Square Co, one of Japan’s top game software makers, to boost its position in the highly competitive industry.

Under the deal due to be implemented on October 26, Square will allocate newly issued shares to Sony’s game-making unit, Sony Computer Entertainment, making it the second-biggest shareholder in Square at 18.6 per cent stake. Reuters

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BIZ BRIEFS

IEC Software
New Delhi, October 9
IEC has secured the contract for providing computer education through Urdu as the medium of training through the national council for promotion of Urdu language, constituted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. TNS

Quality Quest
New Delhi, October 9
Quality Quest, a Mumbai based company has developed an interactive CD to provide efficient corporate training. The CD contains three different modules, which can be used in different industries by human resource and quality management personnel for conducting in-house training sessions and can provide cost effective solutions to organisations, a release said here today. TNS

Navision
New Delhi, October 9
Navision, the global leader in end-to-end enterprise business solutions, today launched their operations in India. The company plans to market, implement and support its range of enterprise business products and solutions to small and medium sized companies through a unique network of Navision solution centres across the country. TNS

HSIDC loan limit
Chandigarh, October 9
Haryana State Industrial Development Corporation (HSIDC) has enhanced the fixed maximum limit for term loan under equipment finance scheme from Rs 4 crore to Rs 5 crore per proposal. Under this scheme, the loan is extended to the existing profit making companies for the purpose of purchase of machinery and equipments to expansion or modernisation or balancing purposes. TNS

Flight Couriers
Chandigarh, October 9
First Flight Couriers will start its surface operations shortly. Transport through surface mode will be specially beneficial to consigners sending shipments which as Express Shipments have to go through many formalities and will also be very economical, said Mr I.S. Kang, Area Manager in a press release here today. The surface operations will initially start between Mumbai and Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore and Bangalore and Delhi. TNS

Connect
Chandigarh, October 9
Connect has tied up with Domino’s Pizza to provide special offers to its subscribers. Under Dominos introductory scheme ‘stretch your pizza’, customers who place orders through Connect phones dialling 1515 will be able to save up to Rs 110 on their purchases and get attractive gifts.
TNS

NHDC pays 10 lakh
New Delhi, October 9
National Handloom Development Corporation Ltd has paid a dividend of Rs 10.20 lakh to the Centre out of the profit generated for financial year 2000-2001. The company has achieved turnover of Rs 194.70 crore during the last financial year. TNS

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