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GAIL not entitled to marketing margin on gas supply
New Delhi, March 9
In a major relief to Reliance Group firm IPCL, the government has ruled that GAIL could not charge any marketing margin on supply of natural gas.

CII wish-list on Haryana Budget
Chandigarh, March 9
The Haryana Budget should focus on key areas, power, connectivity and law and order, which are necessary for the future industrial and economic growth of the state.

Sivasankaran gets 8 pc equity in Tata Tele
New Delhi, March 9
A day after selling equity to Singapore-based Temasek Holding, Tata Teleservices today offloaded another 8 per cent equity in favour of Sterling Infotech owned by C. Sivasankaran, presumably for about Rs 1,200 crore.

Vice-Chairman of Toyota Kirloskar Motor Vikram Kirloskar poses with a Toyoto Camry launched in New Delhi on Thursday. Camry, powered by a 2.4 litre 4-cylinder VVT-i engine, will be available in two versions, priced at Rs 19,83,500 and Rs 21,45,500. Vice-Chairman of Toyota Kirloskar Motor Vikram Kirloskar poses with a Toyoto Camry launched in New Delhi on Thursday. Camry, powered by a 2.4 litre 4-cylinder VVT-i engine, will be available in two versions, priced at Rs 19,83,500 and Rs 21,45,500.
— AFP



EARLIER STORIES

 
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. official Satoko Kubo presents the world’s largest 103-inch plasma display panel in Tokyo in this file photo.
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd. official Satoko Kubo presents the world’s largest 103-inch plasma display panel in Tokyo in this file photo. Matsushita said on Thursday it would introduce Blu-ray DVD players in Europe in the autumn of 2006. — Reuters

Diana Hayden, a former Miss India, talks to mediapersons after the launch of Sahara Global in New Delhi on Thursday.
Diana Hayden, a former Miss India, talks to mediapersons after the launch of Sahara Global in New Delhi on Thursday. Sahara India Parivar announced the launch of India’s largest travel and tourism company, Sahara Global, with 665 marketing offices in 165 cities. The company targets a turnover of Rs 200 crore from services in inbound and outbound traffic and medical tourism in its first year. — Tribune photo by Rajeev Tyagi

A collection of miniature books, including a 5mm x 5mm book (right) containing “The Lord’s Prayer,” are pictured at Christie’s auction House in London on Thursday.
A collection of miniature books, including a 5mm x 5mm book (right) containing “The Lord’s Prayer,” are pictured at Christie’s auction House in London on Thursday. The remarkable collection of miniature books, amassed over some 35 years, is expected to fetch up to Ł60,000 (approx $1,04,141) at the auction. — AFP

Cabinet nod to Cement Corp’s revival
New Delhi, March 9
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) tonight approved revival plan of the Cement Corporation of India Limited, a public sector enterprise under the Department of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.

Tulip invests Rs 180 cr on IP network
New Delhi, March 9

Tulip IT Services today said it has invested Rs 180 crore to set up India’s largest MPLS-enabled Internet protocol virtual private network.

More people contest insurance repudiation
Chandigarh, March 9
As the non- life insurance sector picks up in North India, more and more persons are now contesting the repudiation of their medical and motor vehicle insurance claims by the insurance companies.

Budget subsidy on LPG, PDS kerosene reduced
New Delhi, March 9
The Budget subsidy on domestic cooking gas (LPG) and PDS kerosene has been brought down by about 50 per cent in 2004-05, the government informed the Lok Sabha today.

New CPI-IW series launched
Chandigarh, March 9
With the approval of the Government of India for a new series of the Consumer Price Index numbers for industrial workers (CPI-IW) on base 2001-100, the Shimla-based Labour Bureau has released the maiden index based on 2001 series with effect from the index pertaining to January, 2006.

2 more Sudan blocks for OVL soon
New Delhi, March 9
Sudan announced today that it would award two more oil and gas blocks to ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) for exploration on a nomination basis shortly, Sudanese Ambassador to India, Mr Abdalmahmood A Mohammad, said at a function organised by Assocham here today.

Jet deal sent for probe
New Delhi, March 9
The MRTPC, which is inquiring into the Rs 2,300 crore takeover of Air Sahara by Jet Airways, has forwarded the case to the Director General (Investigations and Registrations), which will submit in turn a report in the next three weeks.

ADB to double lending to India
Hyderabad, March 9
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is planning to double the quantum of lending to India next year to $2-2.25 billion, ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda said here today.

Qatar order for Siemens
Mumbai, March 9
The consortium of Siemens AG of Germany and Siemens India Limited has received a Rs 640- crore order from the Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (KAHRAMAA) for the development of a power transmission network in and around the capital city of Doha, Siemens India said today.
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GAIL not entitled to marketing margin on gas supply

New Delhi, March 9
In a major relief to Reliance Group firm IPCL, the government has ruled that GAIL could not charge any marketing margin on supply of natural gas.

“In terms of the Gas Pricing Order dated June 20, 2005, GAIL is not entitled to levy any marketing margin on any category of consumers for supply of APM (government regulated) or JV gas,” a Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas order said.

The order comes after Mukesh Ambani-controlled Indian Petrochemicals Corp Ltd (IPCL) approached the ministry against GAIL’s notice to terminate gas supplies unless marketing margins were paid.

The ministry’s order states that “in the Gas Pricing Order dated June 20, 2005 effective from July 1, 2005, the government has enunciated a dual pricing regime for different categories of consumers, which is Rs 3,200 per thousand cubic meters to power, fertiliser and court mandated/small consumers and the market regulated price for all other consumers.” “The said Pricing Order does not envisage any marketing margin on supplies to any particular category of consumers.

Furthermore, there are no new marketing efforts made by GAIL post -June 30, 2005 vis-a-vis any of these consumers,” it said.

AIL had demanded from IPCL a marketing margin of Rs 222 per thousand cubic meters on the government-administered or APM gas, which it was supplying to IPCL’s plants at Baroda, Gandhar (Gujarat) and Nagathone (Maharashtra).

GAIL had last month stated that “IPCL has not signed the revised gas supply agreement with GAIL after the Government Pricing Order which came into effect on July 1, 2005,” a ground enough to terminate gas supplies.— PTI

Interim dividend

Mumbai: GAIL Chairman and Managing Director Proshanto Banerjee has presented a dividend cheque for Rs 96.98 crore to Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora towards a special interim dividend for the current fiscal.

A GAIL press note said today the company had paid a special interim dividend at the rate of 20 per cent on its equity share capital of Rs 845.65 crore for the financial year 2005-06. Earlier, GAIL had already paid an interim dividend at 60 per cent on the equity share capital for the financial year 2005-06. — UNI

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CII wish-list on Haryana Budget
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
The Haryana Budget should focus on key areas, power, connectivity and law and order, which are necessary for the future industrial and economic growth of the state.

CII’s pre-Budget-memorandum submitted to the Haryana Government also recognised that while the service industry in the state continues its strong growth, there should be special focus on manufacturing and agriculture sector. Mr Jayant Davar, Chairman, CII Haryana State Council stated this, while talking about the critical areas of focus for the Haryana Budget.

In the agriculture and food-processing sector, the state should take full advantage of the national thrust on agriculture, by assuring irrigation, credit, diversification and creating a market for agricultural and allied products. Special Economic Zones (SEZs) for agriculture products need to be developed with private sector’s participation.

The state needs to develop highly sophisticated infrastructure for the high degree of transformation, right from cleaning and grading of raw material to milling, cooking, processing, mixing and chemical alterations. For successful implementation of proposed activities, it is imperative to seek the participation of the private sector.

On the power front, CII’s wish-list stated that industrial areas should be encouraged for power generation and distribution. CII also recommended that captive power generation should be promoted in general.

CII has suggested all tax-based and other fiscal incentives (deferrals/exemptions) should be phased out sooner than later.

The manufacturing units have to pay tax not only on all inputs but also have to pay LADT on non-taxable sales. They have demanded that in order to avoid double taxation, LADT be totally abolished. CII also recommends that the SEZ Developers and their units may be granted exemption from the property/house tax in the Haryana Special Economic Zone Bill.

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Sivasankaran gets 8 pc equity in Tata Tele

New Delhi, March 9
A day after selling equity to Singapore-based Temasek Holding, Tata Teleservices today offloaded another 8 per cent equity in favour of Sterling Infotech owned by C. Sivasankaran, presumably for about Rs 1,200 crore.

Temasek had picked up 9.9 per cent stake in the closely held Tata Teleservices for about Rs 1,500 crore, company sources had said.

When contacted, the spokesperson confirmed the deal but declined to give financial details.

The funds raised from these two deals, 9.9 per cent to Temasek and 8 per cent to Sivasankaran, would be to the tune of Rs 2,600 crore and these would be deployed in the expansion of network of the company, which has pan-India presence.

Tata Teleservices offers both fixed line and mobile services, based on CDMA technology, along with other group company Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL), which offers long-distance services and leased line.

Asked whether the group was talking to other domestic or overseas investors for offloading more equity, sources indicated that there was no such plan any more.

Temasek Holdings Pte Limited has acquired the stake through its wholly owned subsidiary, Aranda Investments (Mauritius) Pte. Limited.

Immediately after the Temasek deal, Darryl Green, CEO of TTSL had said: “TTSL is already one of the large telecom companies in the world. This investment not only reaffirms investor interest in India’s telecom sector but underlines confidence in TTSL’s growth plans and aspirations to achieve market leadership.”

Asked whether TTSL would now go public with an initial public offer (IPO) in the near future, the company refused to comment on the issue. — PTI

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Cabinet nod to Cement Corp’s revival
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 9
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) tonight approved revival plan of the Cement Corporation of India Limited, a public sector enterprise under the Department of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.

The Cabinet also approved for introduction of the National Jute Board Bill, 2006, in the Parliament. The Bill will help in the restructuring and coordinating the operations of the large number of organisations functioning in the jute sector.

The CCEA also cleared the revival package of Hindustan Organic Chemicals Limited and Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd. The packages were earlier cleared by Board for Reconstruction of Public Enterprises.

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Tulip invests Rs 180 cr on IP network
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 9
Tulip IT Services today said it has invested Rs 180 crore to set up India’s largest MPLS-enabled Internet protocol virtual private network.

The network covers over 300 Indian cities and is the only network in India to offer last mile data connectivity entirely on wireless, a company statement said.

The company today said it aims to expand the network to over 500 cities by the end of this year.

It said the focus would be on providing data connectivity for banks/ATMs, connecting corporates with their branches, dealer/distribution networks across the country, stockbrokers, media companies and government agencies.

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More people contest insurance repudiation
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 9
As the non- life insurance sector picks up in North India, more and more persons are now contesting the repudiation of their medical and motor vehicle insurance claims by the insurance companies.

In Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Chandigarh, almost 35 per cent of the cases filed before the Insurance Ombudsman relate to medical insurance and 40 per cent to the motor vehicle insurance. In fact, over the years, the number of cases being filed in the non life insurance sector is showing a steady increase, as compared to the claims in life insurance.

Talking to TNS here today, Dr A.K. Kundra, Banking Ombudsman for Northern Region, said the number of complaints received by his office in the non-life insurance sector had increased from 258 in 2004-05, to 321 up to February 2006. “On the other hand, this fiscal has seen a shift and complaints in the life insurance sector have reduced from 460 in 2004-05, to 376 till February this year,” he said.

Dr Kundra said other than medical insurance and motor vehicle claims, increase in cases relating to repudiation of insurance against burglary/ theft, and insurance of household goods, too, has shown that the non- life insurance sector is growing steadily.

“The rise in number of complaints in non-life segment has been witnessed in all states —from 83 to 137 in Punjab, 81 to 115 in Haryana, and from four to seven in J&K. The number of complaints received from Himachal have been static at 15,” he added.

Dr Kundra said that in the past five years, the total number of complaints (life insurance and non -life insurance) being received by the Insurance Ombudsman office have been increasing. “There was an almost 100 per cent rise in number of complaints received from 2003-04 (367) to 2004-05 (718).

Even the complaints against the private insurance companies have gone up from 11 last year to 49 now,” he added.

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Budget subsidy on LPG, PDS kerosene reduced

New Delhi, March 9
The Budget subsidy on domestic cooking gas (LPG) and PDS kerosene has been brought down by about 50 per cent in 2004-05, the government informed the Lok Sabha today.

While the subsidy on each LPG cylinder was brought down from Rs 45.18 in 2003-04 to Rs 22.58 in 2004-05, the similar component on PDS kerosene fell from Rs 1.65 a litre to Re 0.82, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dinsha Patel said in a written reply. However, due to the steep rise in international prices of sensitive petroleum products, oil marketing companies (OMCs) had been modulating the price increase in petrol and diesel also, besides maintaining the prices of subsidised products like domestic LPG and PDS kerosene, he said.As a result, OMCs had suffered under-recoveries in the sale of these products.

Under-recoveries on PDS kerosene and domestic LPG nearly doubled from Rs 9,274 crore in 2003-04 to Rs 17,842 in 2004-05. While there was no under-recoveries on petrol and diesel in 2003-04, these were placed at Rs 2,304 in 2004-05.

The total under-recoveries more than doubled from Rs 9,274 crore in 2003-04 to Rs 20,146 crore in 2004-05, according to provisional figures.— UNI

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New CPI-IW series launched

Chandigarh, March 9
With the approval of the Government of India for a new series of the Consumer Price Index numbers for industrial workers (CPI-IW) on base 2001-100, the Shimla-based Labour Bureau has released the maiden index based on 2001 series with effect from the index pertaining to January, 2006.

The all- India Index for January, 2006, stands at 119 and the linking factor for conversion of the new series index to the previous one on base 1982-100 is 4.63.

The CPI-IW (2001-100) series replaces the CPI-IW (1982-100) series. The new series is more representative in character and reflects the latest consumption pattern of the industrial workers, according to an official press note here.

As many as 78 centres have been covered in the 2001 series as against 70 centres in the 1982 series. The sample size for the conduct of the Working Class Family Income and Expenditure Survey- on the basis of which weighting diagrams have been derived-was increased to 41,040 families from 32,616 families in the 1982 series.

The number of selected markets for the collection of retail price data has also increased to 289 markets under the 2001 series as against 226 markets covered in the 1982 series. The number of items directly retained in the index basket has increased to approximate 370 items as against 280 items approximately in the 1982 series.

The CPI-IW is primarily used to regulate the dearness allowance of government employees and the workers in the industrial sectors. It is also used in fixation and revision of minimum wages in scheduled employments, besides measuring the inflation in retail prices. — UNI

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2 more Sudan blocks for OVL soon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 9
Sudan announced today that it would award two more oil and gas blocks to ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) for exploration on a nomination basis shortly, Sudanese Ambassador to India, Mr Abdalmahmood A Mohammad, said at a function organised by Assocham here today.

The Sudanese Government was also planning to award several other projects on a nomination basis to Indian entrepreneurs in other key areas of economic activities which include railways, cyber city, tourism and airports.

The Sudanese experience with Indian businessmen had been so excellent, particularly with ONGC Videsh Ltd, which currently owned five blocks for oil and gas exploration that it had decided to award projects to Indian state-owned and private businesses on a nomination basis, said the Sudanese Ambassador.

Assocham President Anil K. Agarwal said the identified areas for joint and mutual economic cooperation between Sudan and India should be not only oil and gas but also textiles, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and many areas in infrastructure, including roads, ports, airports, seaports and civil aviation.

Mr Agarwal also stressed the need for having direct air linkages between India and Sudan. The State Bank of India should open its branch in Sudan, he added.

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Jet deal sent for probe

New Delhi, March 9
The MRTPC, which is inquiring into the Rs 2,300 crore takeover of Air Sahara by Jet Airways, has forwarded the case to the Director General (Investigations and Registrations), which will submit in turn a report in the next three weeks.

“We have referred the Jet-Sahara deal to DGIR, which will submit its report in the next three weeks,” MRTPC Chairman Bhupinder Kumar Rathi said here today.

Asked whether the Commission would be issuing notice to the buyer over the matter, he said this would depend on the recommendations of the report.

“If the DGIR reports cartelisation of the aviation sector due to the buyout, then we will issue notice and the trial will formally start,” he said.

Nearly a month after the mega deal was clinched in January this year, BJP MP Uday Singh had written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urging that MRTPC should look into it in the interest of probity and transparency. — PTI

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ADB to double lending to India
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, March 9
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is planning to double the quantum of lending to India next year to $2-2.25 billion, ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda said here today.

At present, the annual financial assistance to India is in the range of 1 to $1.5 billion. The new lending would go towards funding large-scale infrastructure projects.

Earlier in the day, delivering the keynote address at the Administrative Staff College of India (ASCI) here, Mr Kuroda said the ADB would provide financial assistance to the National Urban Renewal Mission, besides focussing on transport, energy and urban infrastructure.

The ADB is currently assisting rural road projects in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. Similar projects were being planned for Assam, Orissa and West Bengal. He revealed that financial aid was also in the offing for upgradation of weak road networks in Uttaranchal, Northeastern states, Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand.

The ADB’s role in urban infrastructure projects in Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal would be extended to sanitation, water and waste management projects with targeted poverty reduction components and a strong focus on municipal reforms, Mr Kuroda said.

Meeting in May

The Asian Development Bank(ADB) will holds its 39th annual meeting “in this thriving city”, in May, its President Haruhiko Kuroda said today.

The meet would discuss, among other things, the prospects of development in Asian countries, including the transforming economies like India and the role of the ADB in assisting them, Mr Kuroda said. — UNI

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Qatar order for Siemens

Mumbai, March 9
The consortium of Siemens AG of Germany and Siemens India Limited has received a Rs 640- crore order from the Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (KAHRAMAA) for the development of a power transmission network in and around the capital city of Doha, Siemens India said today.

The scope of supplies and services for Siemens India is Rs 530 crore, the company said, adding that the order covered the setting up of five substations of 220/132/66 KV within 19 months. — UNI

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BRIEFLY

RBI nod for CBoP issue
Chandigarh, March 9
The Centurion Bank of Punjab said today it had received approval from the RBI for the preferential issue of 12.9 crore equity shares at Rs 19.25 each. The bank will allot seven crore equity shares at this price to India Value Fund and 5.90 crore equity shares to Citigroup Venture Capital International Growth Partnership Mauritius Ltd. — TNS

Hutch plan for Punjab
Chandigarh, March 9
Hutch today introduced ‘Balance Transfer’ service for pre-paid subscribers in Punjab. This will enable Hutch pre-paid subscribers to transfer talktime to another local Hutch pre-paid number. Mr Arun Kapoor, COO, Hutch, Punjab, said :”We are trying to complete a 360 degree approach of enabling our pre-paid subscribers to stay connected at all times”, he said. — UNI
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