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Spectrum Allocation
GSM operators against TRAI's proposals

New Delhi, September 6
Stung by the new proposed criteria for spectrum allocation to existing players, private GSM operators today petitioned the government and termed telecom regulator TRAI's recommendations as flawed, based on incorrect assumptions and legally untenable.

Paswan seeks cost-plus price for Reliance gas
New Delhi, September 6
Fertiliser minister Ram Vilas Paswan has termed as "unreasonable" the $4.33 per million British thermal unit price sought by Reliance Industries for the gas it plans to produce from KG block next year, saying the price of the fuel should be based on cost of production.

Lucas TVS to expand in Iran
New Delhi, September 6
Lucas TVS Limited has decided to expand its operations in Iran and is also eyeing to set up its units in Indonesia and Thailand. “We are planning to invest another 16 crore by next year in Iran unit to expand our operations,” Lucas TVS’s chief executive and managing director T.K. Balaji said.

BSNL-MTNL merger proposal put on hold
New Delhi, September 6
The government today said it has decided to put the proposal for merger of BSNL and MTNL on hold for some time, following a few complexities involved in the issue.




EARLIER STORIES

 
Managing director of Volvo India Paul de Voijs presents the company's XC90 sports utility vehicle (left), and a S80 sedan (right) in New Delhi on Thursday. The cars will be imported as completely-built units and will cost between $95,000-$130,000.
Managing director of Volvo India Paul de Voijs presents the company's XC90 sports utility vehicle (left), and a S80 sedan (right) in New Delhi on Thursday. The cars will be imported as completely-built units and will cost between $95,000-$130,000. —Tribune photo by Mukesh Aggarwal

Direct tax collection up by 42 pc
New Delhi, September 6
Impressive corporate performance has resulted in the increase of direct tax collection by 42 per cent during the first five months of the current financial year.

APEC members to set up food safety taskforce
Sydney, September 6
Chinese President Hu Jintao said on Thursday that Beijing took product safety "very seriously", as Asia Pacific ministers agreed to set up a food safety taskforce to ensure the health and safety of the region's population.

Sesa Goa Stake
SC notice on Vedanta’s offer
New Delhi, September 6
The Supreme Court today issued a notice on a petition seeking to stay implementation of public offer made by London-based Vedanta Resources to buy 20 per cent additional stake in iron ore exporting firm Sesa Goa Ltd.
A promoter shows N-Gage downloaded games on a compatible Nokia device at the Games Convention Asia-2007 exhibition in Singapore on Thursday. Video games on personal computers
A promoter shows N-Gage downloaded games on a compatible Nokia device at the Games Convention Asia-2007 exhibition in Singapore on Thursday. Video games on personal computers, mobile phones and other devices are bringing people together in a new community and   in the fast-expanding sector, industry leaders said. — AFP photo

Bajaj Brothers’ Feud
Out-of-court settlement unlikely
New Delhi, September 6
An out-of-court settlement for division of the Bajaj empire appears unlikely anytime soon, with patriarch Rahul Bajaj today accusing younger brother Shishir of raising additional demands that cannot be met.

DaimlerChrysler in tie-up with Sutlej Motors
Jalandhar, September 6
In a move that will give a fillip to the coach making industry in Punjab, German vehicle giant DaimlerChrysler AG has planned a partnership with Sutlej Motors Ltd (SML) to manufacture bus bodies in India.

Greenpeace urges HCL to go green
New Delhi, September 6
Environmental NGO Greenpeace has urged market leader in mobile phones in India, Nokia, to review its business partnership with HCL if the latter does not stop producing hazardous computers. “As Nokia now leads the global race in electronics sector for clean products, it is in best position to tell its business partner HCL, the IT market leader in India, to also go green.

SC stays defence ministry’s pact on Siemens’ plea
New Delhi, September 6
The Supreme Court today stayed the centre’s decision to award a Rs 150-crore contract to Selex Communications SpA for supply of telecom software to Indian Army on a plea by rival Siemens Public Communication Networks.

 

 

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Spectrum Allocation
GSM operators against TRAI's proposals

New Delhi, September 6
Stung by the new proposed criteria for spectrum allocation to existing players, private GSM operators today petitioned the government and termed telecom regulator TRAI's recommendations as flawed, based on incorrect assumptions and legally untenable.

In a detailed letter to Department of Telecom (DoT) Secretary D S Mathur, the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) said the regulator did not follow the correct procedure and acted in a non-transparent manner.

"Recommendations on spectrum allocation and pricing have been made by TRAI without following the due process as also mandate of transparency as required under the Act. These issues were not raised as a part of the consultative process nor were the inputs from various stakeholders shared transparently," COAI said in the letter.

The regulator had on August 29 suggested framing a new spectrum allocation criteria for mobile operators as part of its recommendations on review of licence terms for companies.

It had asked the government to enhance the present subscriber norms for spectrum allocation and also suggested raising the spectrum prices for GSM players.

COAI director general T.V. Ramachamdran said in the letter that the ad-hoc and enhanced subscriber linkage criteria that has been recommended was based on assumptions that were incorrect, technically flawed and impossible to achieve.

The industry group accused the regulator of adopting partisan approach, saying "such an exercise has been carried out selectively only for GSM-based services. Further, even looking at deployment of spectrum optimisation techniques, the recommendations have chosen to focus only on the GSM segment.

There is no separate analysis for CDMA services." GSM-based operators include Bharti Airtel, Vodafone-Essar and Idea Cellular among others, while CDMA field is dominated by two business groups — Anil Ambani's Reliance Communication and Tata Teleservices.

"It is now an admitted fact by all, that the present policy and licensing regime does not allow for cross- allotments of spectrum and a technology choice, once exercised, becomes the basis of all future allotments of spectrum," Ramachandran said.— PTI

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Paswan seeks cost-plus price for Reliance gas

New Delhi, September 6
Fertiliser minister Ram Vilas Paswan has termed as "unreasonable" the $4.33 per million British thermal unit price sought by Reliance Industries for the gas it plans to produce from KG block next year, saying the price of the fuel should be based on cost of production.

"The price should have some relationship with the cost of production with a reasonable profit to the contractor," he wrote to external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is heading an empowered group of ministers on gas pricing.

Paswan said RIL undertook limited bidding that was not "transparent" to arrive at the gas pricing formula. "The formula has been devised by the contractor himself, the basis of which is not very clear. First of all, the basis of this formula, its reasonableness etc will have to be looked into." Seeking firm commitment for supply of fuel for fertiliser plants, he said Reliance formula was unreasonable because the bidders were asked to quote a very small component of the overall formula and bidding was restricted to 10 selected parties. The formula contains both rupee and dollar component, making it susceptible to rupee-dollar exchange rate.

He, however, admitted that RIL gas price could help save Rs 3,000 crore in fertiliser subsidy when plans operating on costlier liquid feedstock switch to gas. But he sought firm commitment for supply of 38 million standard cubic metres per day of gas to existing units and their expansion as also to the eight closed plants and 16 mmmscmd for six new projects.

"The fertiliser industry should be given first priority over domestic gas," he said.

Paswan said the government needs to have a stated utilisation and pricing policy of gas before any decision on formula or basis on which the gas price is to be determined.

"Even if the decision on formula needs to be expedited, broad contours of the utilisation and pricing policy for gas needs to be laid down so that there is consistency in the decision making process," he wrote.

The minister also questioned the increase in capital expenditure from $2.47 billion to $8.8 billion for the KG-D6 block of RIL, saying the "whole basis of increase is questionable".

"The exact status of reserves need to be carefully ascertained and the increase in capex needs to be closely monitored to ensure that the interests of the government are completely protected and gas, which is the most critical natural resource of the country, is utilised in an optimal manner," he said. — PTI 

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Lucas TVS to expand in Iran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 6
Lucas TVS Limited has decided to expand its operations in Iran and is also eyeing to set up its units in Indonesia and Thailand. “We are planning to invest another 16 crore by next year in Iran unit to expand our operations,” Lucas TVS’s chief executive and managing director T.K. Balaji said.

He said the company is keen to expand its overseas operations, Balaji said the company could start its operations in Indonesia and Thailand in the next couple of years.

“Our business plan for Indonesia and Thailand will be demand driven,” he said. The Rs 1000-crore company has five plants in India and one in Iran, would set up another plant at Uttarakhand for production of starter motors with a production capacity of 100,000 units.

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BSNL-MTNL merger proposal put on hold

New Delhi, September 6
The government today said it has decided to put the proposal for merger of BSNL and MTNL on hold for some time, following a few complexities involved in the issue.

In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, minister of state for IT and communications Shakeel Ahmad said a consortium of consultants led by ICICI Securities has suggested some options for restructuring of MTNL and BSNL.

“Since the enabling conditions for the suggested options are not appropriate enough to lead to a successful merger and considering the complexity of issues involved, the restructuring of BSNL and MTNL has been put on hold for the time being,” he added.

The government has been considering the restructuring of the two telcos for enabling them to achieve higher synergies in their operations. It had appointed a consortium of consultants to seek suggestions.

Meanwhile, Ahmad said over 94 lakh telephone connections were deactivated during verification drive of all the users by telecom service providers.

The companies, which have deactivated the mobile numbers of those users who have not been found genuine, include Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications, Tata Teleservices, Idea, Hutchison Essar, Shyam Telelink and Aircel among others, he said. — PTI

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Direct tax collection up by 42 pc
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 6
Impressive corporate performance has resulted in the increase of direct tax collection by 42 per cent during the first five months of the current financial year.

Net direct tax collections went up to Rs 61,030 crore during April-August 2007-08, up from Rs 42,980 crore during the same period last fiscal, a finance ministry statement said here today.

Corporate tax recorded a growth of 49.49 per cent at Rs.33,766 crore, up from Rs.22,587 crore during the previous fiscal.

Personal income tax (including FBT, STT and BCTT) grew by 33.76 per cent at Rs 27,206 crore, up from Rs 20,340 crore.

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APEC members to set up food safety taskforce

Sydney, September 6
Chinese President Hu Jintao said on Thursday that Beijing took product safety "very seriously", as Asia Pacific ministers agreed to set up a food safety taskforce to ensure the health and safety of the region's population.

Australian trade minister Warren Truss said the taskforce, chaired by China and Australia, was not aimed at Beijing which has been grappling with a series of product recalls in a number of countries, ranging from toys to toothpaste.

"We are not targeting China, but we do expect goods that come into Australia to be safe," Truss told a news conference at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Sydney.

The two leaders discussed new inter-agency structures of China, revisions to their laws and regulations and enhanced enforcement and inspection being undertaken by China.

APEC trade and foreign ministers issued a statement on Thursday saying they recognised the need to improve food safety to ensure "the health and safety of our populations".

The ministers announced the establishment of the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum, co-chaired by China and Australia.

The ministers also said they had recommended that the 21 APEC leaders, who will hold a summit in Sydney this weekend, should issue a stand-alone statement on world free trade talks. The APEC ministers agreed to work towards further regional economic integration, but paid only lip service to a free trade zone, saying it was a "long term prospect".— Reuters

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Sesa Goa Stake
SC notice on Vedanta’s offer

New Delhi, September 6
The Supreme Court today issued a notice on a petition seeking to stay implementation of public offer made by London-based Vedanta Resources to buy 20 per cent additional stake in iron ore exporting firm Sesa Goa Ltd.

A bench headed by Justice BN Agrawal sought response from the Centre, Bombay Stock Exchange, market regulator SEBI, Mitsui and its UK-based subsidiary Finsider International as well as Sesa Goa on a petition filed by one Harinarayan G Bajaj, a BSE broker. The apex court also accepted Bajaj's plea to implead Vedanta as a party in the matter.

SEBI had recently given its approval to Vedanta's open offer to buy additional stake from the company's shareholders.

Earlier, the apex court had sought response on a plea challenging the acquisition of controlling stake in the iron ore mining firm Sesa Goa.

Vedanta had early this year acquired Mitsui's 51 per cent stake in Sesa Goa for $981 million, at a price of Rs 2,036 per share. To clinch the deal, Vedanta acquired 100 per cent of Finsider, which owns Mitsui's stake in Sesa Goa.— PTI

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Bajaj Brothers’ Feud
Out-of-court settlement unlikely

New Delhi, September 6
An out-of-court settlement for division of the Bajaj empire appears unlikely anytime soon, with patriarch Rahul Bajaj today accusing younger brother Shishir of raising additional demands that cannot be met.

“From our side we are offering what they wanted earlier. Now, they (Shishir’s side) are asking for more, which we can’t give them now,” Bajaj said.

His comments come days after the company law board (CLB) adjourned hearing on the family settlement case to October 22, asking the two warring factions to settle the issue amicably.

The two side have been trying hard to hammer out a mutual agreement, but have so far been unable to do so.

Bajaj, however, said he was trying hard from his side to settle the matter as there were still some weeks to go for the next hearing of the CLB.

“In case we do not succeed, then we do not have any option but to go to court... we will try our best and hope that something happens this time,” he said.

When CLB resumes hearing, the two sides are expected to report about the outcome of their negotiations. If they fail to reach a settlement by then, the board would resume its scheduled procedure and hear the case for three consecutive days from October 23-25. The four-year-old case has reached the final stages of argument.

Yesterday, Bajaj Auto vice-president Madhur Bajaj had said that they were still trying to settle the issue. He had also said if talks between the brothers fail, then they would be bound by the CLB order. — PTI

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DaimlerChrysler in tie-up with Sutlej Motors
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 6
In a move that will give a fillip to the coach making industry in Punjab, German vehicle giant DaimlerChrysler AG has planned a partnership with Sutlej Motors Ltd (SML) to manufacture bus bodies in India.

SML, founded in 1935, is a leading manufacturer of coaches and application vehicles in the country. The company produces luxury coaches, inter-urban buses, modern low-floor buses, and mini buses.

The two companies intend to build bus bodies on Mercedes Benz chassis that will be produced by DaimlerChrysler India Ltd (DCIL), a wholly owned subsidiary of the German company.

DCIL will also handle sales and after sales of the coaches. The first vehicle will roll off the line in the first quarter of 2008.

The tie-up is being done in view of the huge requirement for high-end buses with the improved road network in the country.

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Greenpeace urges HCL to go green
Vibha Sharma
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 6
Environmental NGO Greenpeace has urged market leader in mobile phones in India, Nokia, to review its business partnership with HCL if the latter does not stop producing hazardous computers.

“As Nokia now leads the global race in electronics sector for clean products, it is in best position to tell its business partner HCL, the IT market leader in India, to also go green. In fact, so far Nokia is the only company that has made its products completely PVC-free,” says Greenpeace.

To stress their point of view, Greenpeace activists also took an installation of e-waste with message that read: ‘Nokia: Ask HCL to go green’ and delivered it at Nokia headquarter in Gurgaon. Greenpeace toxics campaigner Pranav Sinha says the aim was to urge Nokia to review its association with HCL “which has scored so poorly in its environmental commitment”.

The environmental NGO has been demanding that the HCL must have a time-bound, operational road map to phase out toxics and implement a free and easy take back system, with binding commitments.

“It should not be vague aspirational objectives. The information HCL has recently put in the public domain on its phase-out of hazardous chemicals is misleading and does not indicate what, if anything, will change in the company’s operations,” Greenpeace says.

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SC stays defence ministry’s pact on Siemens’ plea

New Delhi, September 6
The Supreme Court today stayed the centre’s decision to award a Rs 150-crore contract to Selex Communications SpA for supply of telecom software to Indian Army on a plea by rival Siemens Public Communication Networks.

A bench, headed by Justice G P Mathur, while staying the contract, also sought response from the defence ministry, Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), Selex and Thales Land & Joint Systems on the petition filed by Siemens Public Communication, which is now known as Nokia Siemens Networks India Pvt.

BEL, the prime contractor for the Indian Army’s modernisation plan for technical communication system, had invited bids for supply and transfer of technology of 80 digital radio trunking system, which is a major component in the TCS programme of the Army.

Siemens had moved the apex court against the defence ministry’s decision to award the contract to Selex.

Challenging the Delhi High Court order that dismissed its plea, Siemens has sought to restrain the ministry and BEL from negotiating with any other bidder except it on the ground that its bid was 40 per cent lower than that 
of Selex. — PTI

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BRIEFLY

RIL-IPCL merger
Mumbai, September 6
Reliance Industries today said the amalgamation of Indian Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd (IPCL) with itself has come into effect from September 5. The certified copies of the orders of the Gujarat and Bombay High Court, sanctioning the scheme of amalgamation of IPCL with Reliance Industries, were filed with the respective registrar of companies yesterday. — PTI

Air India
New Delhi, September 6
The board of directors of Air India has approved the national carrier joining Star Alliance as it entailed a lot of benefits to the customers as well as the carrier. Civil aviation minister Praful Patel told the Lok Sabha today that the board had recommended initiation of discussions with the management of Star Alliance on the joining process and related activities. — UNI

ArcelorMittal
Brussels, September 6
ArcelorMittal, today said it had received clearance from US anti-trust authorities to sell its Sparrows Point steel mill for $1.35 billion. The transaction is expected to close in October, subject to oversight and approval by the recently appointed court trustee, it said. — PTI

Spice Telecom
Chandigarh, September 6
Spice Telecom today launched a first-of-its-kind service called ‘M Book’. Through this service, Spice post-paid and pre-paid subscribers can read books, on their mobile phones by simply logging onto the Spice GPRS network. — TNS

IBM centre
Bangalore, September 6
IBM and Innovation Group today launched a new global insurance centre of excellence here to help companies develop newer business model and enhance customer experience. The company has set up the centre to help firms “innovate on next generation core systems, develop new business models and tap emerging technologies to create competitive advantage and improve the customer experience,” IBM said. — PTI

Hutch service
Chandigarh, September 6
Hutch today launched a first of its kind call filter service for its subscribers in India. This service will enable subscribers to take control of their incoming calls and filter unwanted calls by blocking specific numbers. ‘Call Filter’ will enable Hutch subscribers to block the numbers they do not want to receive calls from. Harit Nagpal, director (marketing and new business) says: “This service is our next step after the Do-Not-Disturb initiative to protect the privacy of our subscribers.” — TNS

Reliance Comm
Chandigarh, September 6
Reliance Communications today said it has launched a facility to transfer money through mobile phones across the country, along with ICICI Bank,the biggest domestic private sector lender. Under this initiative, ICICI Bank’s customers can transfer money anytime and anywhere in the country to people having an account in the bank using their Reliance mobile phones. — TNS

Sintex Inds
Mumbai, September 6
Sintex Industries today announced the acquisition of automotive plastic division of Bright Brothers for Rs 149 crore in an all cash deal. Bright Brothers, which manufactures automotive injection molded plastic, has five production units in the country and is one of the largest original equipment supplier to companies like Maruti, Hyundai, Tata, M&M, among others. — PTI

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