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More revenue share for roaming calls disallowed
New Delhi, September 11
The telecom regulator TRAI today disallowed the operators for additional revenue share on roaming calls, both national and international. In its analysis and decision on admissibility of revenue share between visiting network and terminating network for roaming calls, the TRAI in a statement said as per the prevailing Internet Usage Charge (IUC) Regulation, uniform termination charge at Rs 0.30 per minute is applicable for all types of calls.

ADAG gets nod for DTH foray
New Delhi, September 11
Decks have been cleared for Reliance-ADA Group headed by Anil Ambani to enter the direct- to-home (DTH) service, with the government giving in-principle approval. Sources said the letter of intent (LoI) for the group’s foray into DTH was given today to Blue Sky Magic, a company of the Reliance-ADA group.

ONGC Videsh signs pact for Cuban oil blocks
New Delhi, September 11
State-owned ONGC Videsh, the overseas investment arm of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), has signed production-sharing contracts for two offshore oil exploration blocks in the northwest coast of Cuba, where it already holds stakes in six exploration blocks.

GCA to advise on price of gas from Iran
New Delhi, September 11
UK-based international advisory firm Gaffney, Cline and Associates (GCA) has been appointed to advise on the price of Iranian natural gas to be supplied to India and Pakistan through a proposed $7-billion pipeline.

India, UK ‘must work’ for WTO talks
New Delhi, September 11
Both India and Britain must work towards restarting the Doha round of negotiations. Failing that, the EU and India could consider a free trade agreement (FTA), said Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, UK, George Osborne, at a session on “Seizing opportunities of the new global economy”, organised by CII.

WB Govt warned against forcible eviction of farmers
Kolkata, September 11
The Union Information Minister, Mr Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi, today warned the CPM against forcible eviction of landowners at Singhur and Hooghly for providing agricultural land to Tata Motors. He demanded some alternative land should be allotted to the company for their industrial project at Singur.


 

 

Model Deepika Padukone poses at the inauguration of a Time Factory store in Mumbai
Model Deepika Padukone poses at the inauguration of a Time Factory store in Mumbai, on Monday. Time Factory is an avant-garde multi-brand one-stop destination watch store for mid-priced to premium international watch brands. — AFP

 

 
Models display a Diageo brand “Haig Gold Label” at a press conference in Mumbai
Models display a Diageo brand “Haig Gold Label” at a press conference in Mumbai on Monday. — PTI

Unison plans eight hotels, to invest Rs 2,000 crore 
New Delhi, September 11
Riding high on the increasing demand for five-star accommodation in the country, Unison Hotels has chalked out Rs 2,000- crore capex, which will see it setting up eight hotels in the next five years, Unison Hotels Ltd Managing Director Umesh Saraf said.

NFL to shift to LNG at 3 plants
Noida, September 11
NFL celebrated its 33rd foundation day here today. Chairman-cum-Managing Director G.S. Mangat said, “Our main project is to convert feedstock from fuel oil to natural gas/liquefied natural gas (LNG) at our three plants in Panipat, Bathinda and Nangal within next three years. This will not only reduce the cost of production of urea but also reduce the subsidy component borne by the government.”

Metro Tyres to set up greenfield unit
Chandigarh, September 11
Metro Tyres is planning to set up a new greenfield manufacturing facility at an estimated cost of over Rs 50 crore. The new plant will primarily cater to the Metro Tyres increasing demand for two and three-wheeler tyres.
A model presents a creation during a fashion show organised by 2F in collaboration with PearlB organisations in Ghana’s capital Accra
A model presents a creation during a fashion show organised by 2F in collaboration with PearlB organisations in Ghana’s capital Accra on Monday. — Reuters

India, South Africa target $12 b bilateral trade by 2010
New Delhi, September 11
South Africa aims at a $12 billion trade target with India by 2010, said Deputy President of South Africa Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at an interactive session organised by the CII today.

Cisco, IIT-Roorkee tieup 
New Delhi, September 11
Cisco Systems has tied up with the IIT, Roorkee, for research on mobile agent technology. Cisco will set up the networking infrastructure to facilitate research and development on ‘mobile agents’ in the wide area network (WAN) and wireless environment, thereby enabling research in the area of mobile security in the delivery of mobile agents, said Cisco Systems (India and SAARC) Senior Vice-President Enterprise Jangoo Dalal.

India’s external debt up by $2 b
New Delhi, September 11
India’s external debt has risen to $125.2 billion as on March 31 compared to $123.2 billion in the previous fiscal.

NTPC ranking
New Delhi, September 11
NTPC Limited has been ranked third great place to work for in the country in a study by Grow Talent, Great Place of work Institute, Inc. US and Business World ,2005. The survey spanned over 180 companies from which 130 companies were considered for ranking. —TNS 

 

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More revenue share for roaming calls disallowed
Tribune News Service & PTI

New Delhi, September 11
The telecom regulator TRAI today disallowed the operators for additional revenue share on roaming calls, both national and international.

In its analysis and decision on admissibility of revenue share between visiting network and terminating network for roaming calls, the TRAI in a statement said as per the prevailing Internet Usage Charge (IUC) Regulation, uniform termination charge at Rs 0.30 per minute is applicable for all types of calls.

The prescribed termination charge is cost based, independent of the network from where the call is originating/ terminating and also independent of the tariff charged by the operators. One of the operators with significant market share conveyed its scheme for additional revenue share over and above the prescribed termination charge for terminating the roaming calls in its network, the TRAI said.

It also sought commercial agreement with other operators on reciprocal basis. To deliberate upon the issue in a consultative manner, following its established practice, the TRAI undertook a comprehensive consultation process.

In the consultation paper, the main issue raised was that in case of roaming calls whether terminating network service provider should get a revenue share from the visiting network service provider or it should get only the termination charges as prescribed by the regulator.

Having considered the opinion of various stakeholders contained in their written submissions, the TRAI reiterated that there was no justification for a revenue sharing arrangement among operators in respect of roaming calls (national and international).

The regulator has also noted that the goal is to achieve seamless national roaming without any extra burden on the consumers. Prescribing any additional amount for terminating such calls may defeat this objective.

Meanwhile, telecom operators gearing up to offer third generation mobile services will have to pay for separate spectrum.

A senior Department of Telecom official said whether there would be a separate service licence to offer 3G services or not would be decided once the DoT went through TRAI proposals on 3G. But 3G services would carry a spectrum (wireless) charge, he added.

Earlier, for similar services (like 2G and 2.5G), operators did not have to pay separate spectrum charges as these services were offered on the same voice telephony spectrum, however, 3G services need different band of spectrum, the official said.

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ADAG gets nod for DTH foray

New Delhi, September 11
Decks have been cleared for Reliance-ADA Group headed by Anil Ambani to enter the direct- to-home (DTH) service, with the government giving in-principle approval.

Sources said the letter of intent (LoI) for the group’s foray into DTH was given today to Blue Sky Magic, a company of the Reliance-ADA group.

When contacted, a Reliance Communications spokesperson declined to comment.

In the LoI, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry is understood to have asked the company to complete formalities, including the bank guarantee and licence fee.

Sources indicated that ADAG would complete the formalities by next month. The entry of the the group is expected to spice up the DTH market with already four players, including the latest entrants Tata Sky, a joint venture of Tata and Star, vying for a portion of the market.

Doordarshan and Essel Group promoted Dish TV have already established their presence. — PTI

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ONGC Videsh signs pact for Cuban oil blocks
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 11
State-owned ONGC Videsh, the overseas investment arm of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), has signed production-sharing contracts for two offshore oil exploration blocks in the northwest coast of Cuba, where it already holds stakes in six exploration blocks.

The production-sharing contract for the two blocks was signed on September 9 in Havana by ONGC Videsh Managing Director R.S. Butola with the national oil company Cuba Petroleum.

ONGC Videsh is the seventh company to explore for oil offshore in Cuba. The industry was partially opened to foreign investment in June 1999 to cut on imports of oil after years of power blackouts and fuel shortages.

Unlike the case of the six exploration blocks 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 36 and part of Block 35 in which ONGC Videsh farmed in with Spain’s Repsol-YPF last year to take 30 per cent stake, in the two new blocks 34 and 35 covering 4,300 sq km the Indian company will be holding 100 per cent stake and would handle the operations alone.

“We bid for the two blocks through open acreage system after evaluating the data bought two years back. We had focused on two-three blocks and after negotiating the production-sharing agreement which took some time, we finally signed the contract with the Cuban national oil company,” said a company official.

Under the contract, ONGC Videsh is committed to three-stage investment that is expected to see initial investment of around $50 million in seismic data gathering and drilling for exploration, the official said.

Ahead of commencing work, ONGC Videsh would soon be setting up a branch office in Havana.

The two blocks awarded to ONGC Videsh are among 16 blocks awarded by Cuba for exploration to 16 companies at a time when the US has been voicing concerns about the environment impact of exploration activities in Cuba’s Gulf waters.

Meanwhile, official sources said ONGC Videsh and its partners Repsol-YPF and Norway’s Norsk Hydro in the six exploration blocks would be drilling an exploratory well before year-end.

While Repsol-YPF holds 40 per cent stake in the six blocks and is the operator, Norsk Hydro of Norway holds 30 per cent stake and ONGC Videsh the remaining 30 per cent. Three years ago Repsol found indications of good quality oil in one of the exploratory well drilled.

The two new blocks are just below the other blocks and closest to the northwest coast where heavy crude is pumped from onshore.

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GCA to advise on price of gas from Iran

New Delhi, September 11
UK-based international advisory firm Gaffney, Cline and Associates (GCA) has been appointed to advise on the price of Iranian natural gas to be supplied to India and Pakistan through a proposed $7-billion pipeline.

“GCA will submit a report on gas pricing for the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline by month-end,” a senior official said here.

India, Pakistan and Iran had on August 4 agreed to try one last time to break the impasse over pricing of gas by seeking opinion of an international consultant on the issue.

A technical group of the three countries will validate the GCA report before secretary-level talks in Tehran in November. — PTI

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India, UK ‘must work’ for WTO talks
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 11
Both India and Britain must work towards restarting the Doha round of negotiations. Failing that, the EU and India could consider a free trade agreement (FTA), said Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, UK, George Osborne, at a session on “Seizing opportunities of the new global economy”, organised by CII.

This FTA could be a deal with the EU to open its markets in a way similar to everything but arms initiative that has allowed the poorest small countries access to EU markets, he said.

Increased trade in services was another area, said Mr Osborne, both sides could address. This could be assisted by mutually recognising professional qualifications. Other issues included the double taxation treaty to ensure that the British investments in India and Indian investments in Britain were taxed fairly.

Both countries needed to strengthen their links in education. Most Indian academic links were with Germany, France and the US. Britain was missing out and that had to change.

Meanwhile, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath reiterated the need for correcting structural flaws in the world agriculture trade arising out of trade distorting subsidies given by the developed countries and said the development content of the Doha Round must not be diluted.

During the visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said official sources, India and Brazil would try to work out a common strategy for the WTO talks. 

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WB Govt warned against forcible eviction of farmers
Subhrangshu Gupta
Tribune News Service

Kolkata, September 11
The Union Information Minister, Mr Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi, today warned the CPM against forcible eviction of landowners at Singhur and Hooghly for providing agricultural land to Tata Motors. He demanded some alternative land should be allotted to the company for their industrial project at Singur.

Mr DasMunshi was addressing a rally organised by the Congress near Singhur against the Left Front’s decision for transferring agricultural land to the Tatas and Indonesia’s Selim Group of Industries. Mr Adhir Chowdhury, MP, Mr Subarata Mukherjee, Mr Abdul Mannan and other leaders were present at the rally.

At a separate meeting at Purulia, the Defence Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, also criticised the state government’s decision to evict the poor agriculturalists.

At Writers Buildings, the state Industries Minister, Mr Nirupam Sen, expressed dissatisfaction that the Congress, the TMC and other parties had been unnecessarily politicising the issue of land transfer to the two companies.

He feared that the Tatas might shifted their proposed project to some other state. He appealed to leaders of all political parties to come to a negotiating table with the government in amicably settling the impasse.

Trinamool Congress leader Mamata Banerjee at a massive rally on Sunday at Singur gave a call to the poor farmers and the landless labourers to make massive resistance against their evictions. She warned the CPM of dire consequences if there was any forcible eviction of the poor landowners from Singur and other places for providing agricultural land to industries.

Ms Banerjee suggested that the Tatas could be given 1,200 acres near Dankuki Coal Complex, which was acquired for a fruit processing plant in 1995, but the land was still lying unused.

Meanwhile, Mr Dasmunhsi suggested the state government should make a proposal to Tata Motors for providing alternative land in Hooghly district. 

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Unison plans eight hotels, to invest Rs 2,000 crore 

New Delhi, September 11
Riding high on the increasing demand for five-star accommodation in the country, Unison Hotels has chalked out Rs 2,000- crore capex, which will see it setting up eight hotels in the next five years, Unison Hotels Ltd Managing Director Umesh Saraf said.

The investment would be made in two phases in which the company, promoter of ‘The Grand’ in New Delhi, would invest Rs 1,000 crore in the first phase.

“In the first phase we will set up five-star hotels in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai. We have recently acquired land in Hyderabad, where we would build a 225-room five- star accommodation and a separate service apartment block with about 175 apartments,” Mr Saraf said.

Mr Saraf said the company would invest the remaining sum of Rs 1,000 crore in the second phase of expansion under which it would have footprints in cities like Pune, Kolkata and Chandigarh, among others. — PTI

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NFL to shift to LNG at 3 plants
Our Correspondent

Noida, September 11
NFL celebrated its 33rd foundation day here today.

Chairman-cum-Managing Director G.S. Mangat said, “Our main project is to convert feedstock from fuel oil to natural gas/liquefied natural gas (LNG) at our three plants in Panipat, Bathinda and Nangal within next three years. This will not only reduce the cost of production of urea but also reduce the subsidy component borne by the government.”

“This project is being implemented at a cost of Rs 1,500 crore and will be completed within three years. The proposed cost will be met from internal sources to the tune of Rs 500 crore and the balance through a loan of Rs 1,000 crore from financial institutions and the Central Government. Gail and Reliance are expected to lay gas pipelines for supply of gas to the plants,” Mr Mangat said.

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Metro Tyres to set up greenfield unit
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 11
Metro Tyres is planning to set up a new greenfield manufacturing facility at an estimated cost of over Rs 50 crore. The new plant will primarily cater to the Metro Tyres increasing demand for two and three-wheeler tyres.

Metro will also export a part of production from this new plant under a buy-back arrangement with Continental AG of Germany. The company is scouting for sites in the tax-free hill states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttaranchal, besides sites near a port in the western part of the country.

Managing Director of Metro Tyres Rummy Chabbra said, “We will finalise the site in the coming two months and work on the new plant will begin thereafter”.

The company already has four plants at Ludhiana and one at Gurgaon. The four plants at Ludhiana have a capacity to manufacture 100,000 two-wheeler and bicycle tyres and tubes per day, while automobile tubes for Continental AG are manufactured at the Gurgaon plant. 

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India, South Africa target $12 b bilateral trade by 2010
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 11
South Africa aims at a $12 billion trade target with India by 2010, said Deputy President of South Africa Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at an interactive session organised by the CII today.

The bilateral trade between India and South Africa witnessed a quantum jump in 2005 with exports from South Africa rising by over 100 per cent and imports by 55 per cent, she said.

India could facilitate technology for production and become a supplier of construction infrastructure in South Africa, said the Deputy President. The country planned to invest $55 billion in infrastructure.

Other areas of collaboration were tourism, business process outsourcing, Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka said.

Both countries could collaborate in training people in project management, education, engineering and health sectors. 

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Cisco, IIT-Roorkee tieup 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 11
Cisco Systems has tied up with the IIT, Roorkee, for research on mobile agent technology. Cisco will set up the networking infrastructure to facilitate research and development on ‘mobile agents’ in the wide area network (WAN) and wireless environment, thereby enabling research in the area of mobile security in the delivery of mobile agents, said Cisco Systems (India and SAARC) Senior Vice-President Enterprise Jangoo Dalal.

“Cisco’s networking infrastructure and its expertise in networking and security will allow us to extend the scope of our research and develop mobile agent technology and deliver its benefits beyond the LAN environment,” the IIT-Roorkee Professor of Computing and Head ISC, Dr Kumkum Garg, said.

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India’s external debt up by $2 b
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 11
India’s external debt has risen to $125.2 billion as on March 31 compared to $123.2 billion in the previous fiscal.

The increase in external debt was $2 billion during 2005-06 compared to $11.6 billion a year ago, said an official statement issued by the Finance Ministry today.

The lower level of accumulation of external debt in 2005-06 was attributed mainly to the redemption of $5.5 billion India Millennium Deposits by the SBI in December, 2005. Surging exports and increased capital inflows had helped in slowing down India’s debt accumulation in recent years, the ministry said.

India’s external debt comprises 15.8 per cent of the gross domestic product, sharply down from 38.7 per cent in 1991-92, when the country faced a balance of payment crisis and was bailed out by the IMF.

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NTPC ranking

New Delhi, September 11
NTPC Limited has been ranked third great place to work for in the country in a study by Grow Talent, Great Place of work Institute, Inc. US and Business World ,2005. The survey spanned over 180 companies from which 130 companies were considered for ranking.—TNS 

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BRIEFLY

Bajaj Platina price cut
New Delhi, September 11
Bajaj Auto Ltd today slashed the price of its popular 100cc model Platina by Rs 2,000 as it paces to catch on market leader Hero Honda. “Effective today, we have reduced the price of the top- end Platina to Rs 35,000 from Rs 37,000,” Bajaj Auto Vice-President Marketing and Sales S. Sridhar said. The price reduction was part of the festive season offer by Bajaj. Mr Sridhar said as a part of the offer, the base model of Platina, which would not see any price cut, would come with added features like alloy wheels at the existing price of Rs 34,000.The company would not tinker with the prices of its other models like Pulsar and Discover.— PTI

Gold, silver tumble
Mumbai, September 11
Gold tumbled by Rs 120 per 10 gm to below Rs 9,000 nd was quoted at Rs 8,985 at the opening session on the bullion market here today due to a heavy selloff after the metal crashed by more than $10 per ounce in the overseas market. Silver also met with heavy offering in sympathy with gold and suffered heavily. Standard gold ( 99.5 purity) and pure gold (99.9 purity) plunged to Rs 8,985 and Rs 9,035 from the previous closings of Rs 9,205 and Rs 9,255, respectively. Ready silver (.999 fineness) crashed by Rs 615 per kilo at Rs 18,780 from last Friday’s closing of Rs 19,395. — PTI

Godrej eyes buyouts
Kolkata, September 11
Godrej & Boyce has drawn up acquisition and manufacturing facilities in overseas markets,” Godrej (Furniture and Interior) COO Anil S. Mathur said here today. The company had targeted two acquisitions in the US and the UK and two manufacturing bases in these countries. “We have earmarked Rs 100-150 crore for acquisition,” Mr Mathur said, adding that Rs 80 crore would be invested for each manufacturing facility in the UK and the US. — PTI

L&T tieup
Mumbai, September 11
Larsen and Toubro Limited (L&T) has reached an understanding with Swedish heavy vehicle major Scania to distribute its range of multi-axle trucks in India. These heavy-duty trucks, in the 300-500 hp range, will cater to the needs of the construction and mining sectors. The trucks will complement L&T’s range of hydraulic excavators that are widely used in mining and construction projects around the country, L and T said here today. Currently, about one million Scania vehicles are in operation in 100 countries in Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa and Australia.— UNI

GE selects HCL
Mumbai, September 11
HCL Technologies Ltd said today it had signed an agreement with General Electric Company for setting up and operating global development centers (GDC) of GE in India and China for over three years. HCL was selected as one of its partners after due diligence conducted by the GE team, the company said. “We are excited about this partnership and will continue to deliver the near shore alternatives and LCC leverage to GE”, HCL America President Shami Khorana said. HCL America is a 100 per cent subsidiary of the company.— PTI

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