Thursday,November 29, 2001, Chandigarh, India





National Capital Region--Delhi

THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Mascarenhas likely to take over today
New Delhi, November 28
Six months after he was suspended, the government today decided to reinstate Mr Michael Mascarenhas as Air India’s Managing Director after the CBI gave him a clean chit in a corruption case.

Birlas topple Tatas in net earnings
Mumbai, November 28
The AV Birla group, headed by Kumar Mangalam Birla, is emerging as a fastest growing industrial conglomerate in India, toppling big brothers such as the Tatas in net earnings during the year ended March, 2001.

Sugarfed-IOC to produce ethanol
Ludhiana, November 28
The Punjab Sugarfed will soon enter into a project with the Indian Oil Corporation to produce ethanol. The project is in the final stages and will be signed in the next few days.

US Airways CEO Gangwal resigns
New York, November 28
Mr Rakesh Gangwal, the Indian American credited with building up US Airways into the sixth largest airline in the country, has resigned in the midst of a dire slump in the company's fortunes.

Food plazas for rly stations
New Delhi, November 28
India's 6,867 railway platforms that link the world's second largest railroad network will be the next frontier for the expanding fast food business.

 

 

EARLIER STORIES

 
A Sanrio shop sales clerk displays Japan's popular character dolls Hello Kitty (R) and her boyfriend Dear Daniel in baby dresses at a Tokyo shop on Wednesday.
A Sanrio shop sales clerk displays Japan's popular character dolls Hello Kitty (R) and her boyfriend Dear Daniel in baby dresses at a Tokyo shop on Wednesday. — AFP

Porn surfers beware! you're being watched
New Delhi, November 28
With a view to preventing the misuse of the Internet and discourage the porn surfers, hidden cameras have been installed at kiosks set up by the state government and computer major NIIT in a South Delhi slum area, according to media reports.

Announce levy rice price, say millers
Jalalabad, November 28
Rice Millers of Punjab have so far delivered 50 per cent of the total levy rice due into the central pool, but the centre yet to announce the levy price for the current year. Though there was an increase of Rs 20 per qt in minimum support price of paddy but no increase in levy rice price has been effected so far.

 
ROUND-UP

Global swoop on Net child porn
London
Detectives across the world arrested more than 130 persons on Wednesday in an unprecedented global crackdown on child pornography, the British police said.

  • Lawyers object to Microsoft deal

  • Bharti Tele buys stake in TV Today



Top








 

Mascarenhas likely to take over today

New Delhi, November 28
Six months after he was suspended, the government today decided to reinstate Mr Michael Mascarenhas as Air India’s Managing Director after the CBI gave him a clean chit in a corruption case.

Ironically, Mr Mascarenhas will be in office for just two days as he retires on November 30. But it is being seen as a moral victory for the 58-year-old veteran Air India hand who had maintained that he was innocent and that the anti-disinvestment lobby had conspired against him. It is unlikely he will be given any extension. The retirement age for Air India employees was rolled back to 58 from 60 when Mr Mascarenhas was the Managing Director.

He is likely to take over the post tomorrow, taking the reins of the airline from Mr Tarun Gogoi who had been the acting Managing Director.

Official sources told UNI that Civil Aviation Minister Syed Shahnawaz Hussain was keen that Mr Mascarenhas takes over immediately, albeit only for a couple of days, as ‘justice should not be denied’. The Minister’s letter restoring the post to Mr Mascarenhas, who had been suspended on May 23 for allegedly showing financial favours to Air India’s General Sales Agent in London, Welcome Travels, was to be sent late tonight.

Mr Mascarenhas, who was in the Capital, was not available for comment but sources close to him said he would not go to court against the government as it reinstated him after a change of guard in the ministry. But they did not rule out filing of defemation suits against those who had “conspired” against him.

The CBI, in its report given to Civil Aviation Secretary A.H. Jung yesterday, found no evidence against Mr Mascarenhas in the case but recommended department action against three other officials, Regional Director in London P.K. Biswas, former Commercial Director H. S. Uberoi and his number two Capt K. Bihari for making mathematical errors without criminal intent.

In its 30-page report the CBI said there was no malafide intention to increase Welcome Travel’s productivity linked incentive from 5 to 7 per cent on the basis that air traffic from london was coming down. Mr Mascarenhas had in fact questioned the decision and asked for the estimated flight reduction from London, the CBI noted.

Meanwhile, Civil Aviation Ministry officials said today whatever is fair to the suspended Air India Managing Director will be done on the eve of his retirement.

Mr Mascarenhas, is due to retire on November 30.

Senior Aviation Ministry officials, who met here at a meeting convened by Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, examined the CBI report and are going to take a decision shortly. Officials also looked into service rules to see what could be done in such a case.

“Whatever is fair for the gentleman will be done’’, Civil Aviation Secretary A.H. Jung told reporters. The government was keeping an open mind on the issue. UNI, PTI

Top

 

Birlas topple Tatas in net earnings

Mumbai, November 28
The AV Birla group, headed by Kumar Mangalam Birla, is emerging as a fastest growing industrial conglomerate in India, toppling big brothers such as the Tatas in net earnings during the year ended March, 2001.

A comparative study of the data provided by the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE) and the company’s accounts statement shows, the AV Birla group of companies has posted a net profit of Rs 1,297.21 crore as against Rs 1003.69 crore posted by the Tatas. This is despite the fact that the Birla group manages only 11 companies while the house of Tatas manage 37 listed companies.

Surprisingly, the growth in net profit of 11 the listed companies of the Birlas was 151 per cent during the year as compared to the net profit of Rs 516.45 crore in the year 1999-2000. The prime reason for the increase is attributed to the turnaround of Indian Rayon and Industries. Indian Rayon had reported a net loss of Rs 241.23 crore in 1999-2000 while during the year 2000-01, the company has posted a net profit of Rs 68.52 crore.

During the year also, the company has posted lower loss of Rs 185.05 crore for Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Company against a loss of Rs 299.68 crore in the previous year. This resulted in an additional saving of Rs 114.83 crore during the year.

On the other hand, the Tata group of industries has shown certain signs of stagnation in the growth as the group posted a 35 per cent lower net profit at Rs 1003.69 crore. The fall is largely attributed to the performance of Telco which accounted for nearly 85 per cent of the group’s total loss. Telco’s loss stood at Rs 500.34 crore against the total Tata group listed companies loss of Rs 587.49 crore for the 12 months period ended March 31, 2001. UNI

Top

 

Sugarfed-IOC to produce ethanol
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 28
The Punjab Sugarfed will soon enter into a project with the Indian Oil Corporation to produce ethanol. The project is in the final stages and will be signed in the next few days.

Under the policy of the Petroleum Ministry, 5 per cent ethanol will be mixed in the petrol. It will save foreign exchange worth crores of rupees per annum and utilisation of by-products of the sugar mills in Punjab.

This was disclosed by Mr Jagjit Puri, Managing Director, Sugarfed at Jagraon today. He was speaking at the commencement of sugarcane crushing ceremony. While addressing farmers, he requested them to become quality conscious in light of the WTO and plan their farming strategy and crop rotation accordingly. He also emphasised the need of maintaining soil fertility by adopting green manuring, vermiculture and also to conserve soil moisture.

Mr Pritam Singh Kaunta, Chairman, Sugarfed, Punjab, said,‘‘ During the current season, the Jagraon cooperative mill is expected to crush around 25 lakh quintals of sugarcane and will produce 2.35 lakh bags of sugar. The management has also approached the Sugarfed and state government for one-time settlement of its outstanding loans so that it may recover at its own strength.’’

Mr Puri assured the farmers that they would be paid on time as the state government had agreed to provide guarantees for the cash limits provided by banks. The Sugarfed has also introduced ‘Registered Cane Growers Scheme’.

Top

 

US Airways CEO Gangwal resigns

New York, November 28
Mr Rakesh Gangwal, the Indian American credited with building up US Airways into the sixth largest airline in the country, has resigned in the midst of a dire slump in the company's fortunes.

Kolkata-born Gangwal, the 48-year-old CEO of US Airways Group and US Airways Inc, had declared he was not going to draw any salary as CEO this year following the September 11 terror attacks and the downward spiralling airline industry.

While resigning on Tuesday, he indicated he was joining the venture capital sector in the Greater Washington area.

US Airways, based in Arlington, Virginia, was particularly hit by the temporary closure of Reagan International Airport that is adjacent to the Pentagon after the defence building was hit on September 11.

While all major airlines reported heavy losses after September 11, US Airways was hit particularly badly because it was the largest carrier out of Reagan National which remained closed for several weeks. It had already announced layoffs of 11,000 of its 46,500 workers and cut its carrier capacity by 23 percent.

"I am grateful for having had the opportunity to contribute to US Airways over the past several years. In particular, I shall hold in the highest regard the professionalism and loyalty of US Airways' employees and wish them the very best in the future," said Mr Gangwal, who had tried to assuage union workers about the merger, its failure and the stream of layoffs.

Mr Stephen M. Wolf, Chairman of US Airways Group and US Airways Inc, who will reassume the position of CEO at both companies, said, "Rakesh has contributed significantly to US Airways during his time with the company.While we are disappointed with his decision to seek a new career path, we wish him and his family all possible success in their future endeavours." IANS

Top

 

Food plazas for rly stations

New Delhi, November 28
India's 6,867 railway platforms that link the world's second largest railroad network will be the next frontier for the expanding fast food business.

Major food chains, both Indian and multinational, will set up multi-cuisine food plazas at 25 major train stations across the country in the first phase of a project which will see 100 such plazas being opened.

Thirteen major food chains, including McDonald's, Domino's, Wimpy, Hot Breads and such indigenous ones like Nathu's and Oriental Cuisine are in the fray for setting up operations in the food plazas, which will be catering to a huge demand for ready-to-carry quality food at stations.

"Instead of people bringing fast food for their kids during short journeys, we are planning to capture a market share of the food chains by setting up upmarket catering services on 25 select stations in the first phase," Yogendra Sharma, director, catering services and tourism, Railway Board, told IANS.

The food plazas in the pipeline will have multiple outlets catering to varying tastes from Indian to Western fast food. They will be serving a wide choice ranging from burgers and pizzas to confectionery items and ice-cream.

"We expect the food plazas to provide ready-to-pick food to passengers at the starting point. These outlets will be manned by the representative of the food chain while we will provide the space and other facilities," said Sharma.

Financial bids have already been sent to the 13 short-listed fast food chains for 25 stations. By month end the financial bids are to be returned to the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTCL), set up last year to look after the entire railway tourism and catering services both on trains and platforms, which will award the contracts in December.

The food chains will be given three months to get the projects started.

"By March 2002, when the 25 food plazas will be operational, the IRCTCL will formally take over control of the entire railway tourism and catering operation," said Sharma.

Bids have already been received for food plazas at Pune and Chennai stations and by mid-January the first food plaza should become operational at Pune with R.K. Associates as the principal operator.

The other major stations selected for setting up food plazas in the first phase include Bhopal, Jabalpur, Mumbai Central and Dadar, Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar , Howrah, Guwahati,Gorakhpur, Lucknow, Agra Cantonment, Patna and Jaipur.

The food plazas will help the Railways phase out pantry cars in short-haul trains and provide more value-added services to long-distance trains, said officials. IANS

Top

 

Porn surfers beware! you're being watched

New Delhi, November 28
With a view to preventing the misuse of the Internet and discourage the porn surfers, hidden cameras have been installed at kiosks set up by the state government and computer major NIIT in a South Delhi slum area, according to media reports.

The moment a surfer uses the Internet to surf unwanted sites, the cameras swing into action and the culprit's photograph is flashed across all 30 kiosks in the area. Local residents say the problem still persists, but a move to deter culprits has been made.

Mr Sugata Mitra, head of an NIIT research centre and the brain behind the idea, is optimistic about the move. "This embarrasses the culprit so much that he does not dare to visit such a site again," he observes.

The government and NIIT had launched a computer education project in a South Delhi slum cluster last year.

Since the area has many juvenile delinquents, the greatest challenge was the misuse of the Internet for pornography. Mr Subhash Aggarwal, a shop owner in the area, said: "We complained about the misuse of the Internet to the NIIT several times. We even caught someone misusing the facility and gave him a good thrashing."

Mr Mitra was surprised at the culprits' levels of knowledge. "It is amazing how they pick up know-how of the Web's indecent exposure."

The NIIT director hit upon surveillance two months ago. "After the cameras have been installed, the problem has been contained," he says. I can monitor from my office who is doing what, and the moment someone transgresses, they are caught." IANS

Top

 

Hind Lever officers held over shampoo ad

Mumbai, November 28
Two Hindustan Lever (HLL) executives have been arrested for allegedly hurting religious sentiments after activists of the Shiv Sena kicked up a storm over an advertisement depicting Hanuman, a monkey-god revered by Hindus, endorsing a popular shampoo brand.

Posters for Sunsilk and All Clear shampoos featured Hanuman tearing open his chest to reveal packets of shampoos. The jingle exhorted dealers and retailers to display the products to win prizes in a contest organised by HLL.

HLL has now expressed regret for hurting people's sentiments. The company has decided to discontinue using the posters.

Computer designer Vikram Pradhan and sales promotions officer Vikas Bendre of HLL were arrested and produced before the Metropolitan Magistrate. They were remanded to custody for seven days, the police said. IANS

Top

 

Announce levy rice price, say millers
Our Correspondent

Jalalabad, November 28
Rice Millers of Punjab have so far delivered 50 per cent of the total levy rice due into the central pool, but the centre yet to announce the levy price for the current year. Though there was an increase of Rs 20 per qt in minimum support price of paddy but no increase in levy rice price has been effected so far.

For the last couple of years the   Food Ministry is not declaring its levy policy simultaneously with the revision of MSP of paddy thus affecting the private purchase of paddy by the rice millers. Mr Rajan Gumber, executive member of the Rice Millers Association in a statement charged the Food Ministry for adopting dual policy regarding MSP and levy rice price. The MSP of paddy was announced by the government. But it is not announcing the levy rice price.

Top

 
ROUND-UP

Global swoop on Net child porn

London
Detectives across the world arrested more than 130 persons on Wednesday in an unprecedented global crackdown on child pornography, the British police said.

Officers from 20 countries — from Asia to Europe — took part in "Operation Landmark", a 10-month investigation to target Internet users who accessed and traded in images of paedophilia. The countries involved along with Britain were Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey and the USA. Reuters

Lawyers object to Microsoft deal

Washington:
Lawyers battling Microsoft in two US states fiercely rejected a planned settlement of private claims under which the software titan would donate a billion dollars in high-tech support to the poorest US schools.

The proposal made matters worse, not better, by expanding Microsoft’s general market dominance to schools, said the lawyers, taking private actions on behalf of consumers in California and Minnesota. AFP

Bharti Tele buys stake in TV Today

New Delhi
Bharti Teletech said today it has picked up 10 per cent stake in Aroon Purie’s TV Today Network, through a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Bharti Enterprises Rakesh Bharti Mittal told PTI, “we have picked up 10 per cent stake in TV Today last month. PTI

Top

  bb
BIZ BRIEFS

Kharar resident wins Mercedes
Ludhiana, November 28
Mr Gurpreet Singh of Kharar has won a Mercedes Benz car in a scheme of Raymond. Under the scheme launched in October, all customers who purchased articles worth more than Rs 1,000 were issued coupons. The draws were taken out yesterday in Mumbai and Mr Gurpreet Singh was declared the lucky winner. Mr Rajinder Bansal, the sales agent of the company for Punjab, said the documents had been handed over to Mr Gurpreet Singh. TNS

Drug industry
New Delhi, November 28
The drug industry today urged the government to expedite the introduction of the pricing policy saying further delay will have a serious negative impact on the industry and affect the consumers. The Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association said here that the present practice of adding 100 per cent to the manufacturing cost to cover the costs of overheads, freight marketing, trade commissions were not enough.
TNS

Canara Bank
Bathinda, November 28
The Kotshamir branch of Canara Bank organised a customer meet on the bank premises today. Mr P.B. Joshi, manager said nearly 65 customers attended the meet. The meeting was focussed on various matters related to rural areas and the needs of rural customers. Some kisan credit cards were also distributed on this occasion. OC

Nabard advance
Chamba, November 28
The Shimla chapter of Nabard has made an advance of Rs 421.42 crore under the investment credit plan for the development of farm sector activities in Himachal Pradesh during the past five years. OC

Far-Index
Faridabad, November 28
The Faridabad Industrial Expo, popularly known as Far-index, will not be held this year. Claimed by the authorities as pride of the industries and business of the region, the fair has succumbed to overall recession and negative mood prevailing in the industry here. TNS

Customer meet
Chandigarh, November 28
Mandi Gobindgarh and Guru Ki Nagri branches of the State Bank of Patiala organised a customer meet for industrialists at Gymkhana Club. Bharat Bhushan Jindal, President, Steel Chamber of Commerce, Mandi Gobindgarh, Balram Suraj, N.S. Deshpande, DGM, and Sarabjit Ghai, AGM were present. TNS

BPL net falls
Bangalore, November 28
BPL Limited’s net profit for Q2 of 2001-02 has dropped to Rs 10.34 crore from Rs 22.26 crore for the same period of last fiscal. The company’s gross sales declined to Rs 341.37 crore, compared to Rs 459.16 crore in July-September of 2000, a company statement said. The Q2 sales, however, registered a 9 per cent growth over Q1 figure. PTI

Top

Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
|
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | In Spotlight | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
|
121 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |