SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI



THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
B U S I N E S S

Sell gas to Essar, Ispat: Govt to RIL
New Delhi, June 16
The government has asked Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) to sell natural gas from its eastern offshore KG-D6 fields to steel firms like Essar and Ispat to help the country's most prolific gas field to produce at an optimum level.

Will latest iphone click?
New Delhi, June 16
At a time when the latest edition of iPhone from Apple's stable is matching the popularity of its predecessors in the US, it has failed to evoke a very enthusiastic response in India.

Coal India disinvestment on cards
New Delhi, June 16
The Coal Ministry is working on a proposal to disinvest 5-10 per cent stake in Navratna PSU Coal India Ltd, a move which may pave way for early listing of the country's largest producer of the dry fuel.

Spectrum allocation report put off till 3G auction
New Delhi, June 16
Telecom players holding spectrum space beyond 6.2 MHz have got some more breathing time with the government reportedly deciding to put on hold the implementation of report of the spectrum committee.





EARLIER STORIES



The light-weight hydrogen-powered Riversimple car makes a debut in London
The light-weight hydrogen-powered Riversimple car makes a debut in London on Tuesday. The UK-based firm unveiled the prototype for a two-seat car promising fuel consumption equivalent to 106 km/litre. Riversimple says it plans to lease it, for about $315 per month. Production is likely to begin by 2013, it said. — AP/PTI

A sign with the Saab logo outside the main Saab factory in Trollhattan
A sign with the Saab logo outside the main Saab factory in Trollhattan. Swedish sportscar maker Koenigsegg and General Motors have struck a preliminary deal on Tuesday for the firm to take over loss-making carmaker. — Reuters

RNRL in race to hire LNG terminal
New Delhi, June 16
Anil Ambani Group firm Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) has joined the race to hire the LNG terminal adjacent to the Dabhol power plant to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes.

RGPPL defers decision on CERC tariff order
New Delhi, June 16
The board of beleaguered Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt Ltd today considered the CERC order that raised tariff of electricity generated by it but deferred a decision till the next board meeting.

Rlys registers growth despite recession
New Delhi, June 16
Despite the downturn, the Railways have registered an over 3 per cent growth in its revenues in the first two months of the current financial year.

Book on PR launched
Chandigarh, June 16
Iqbal Sachdeva, public relations manager for an American multi-national with an experience of about three decades, has written a book ‘Public relations — Principle & Practices’ the first copy of which was presented to Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, in New Delhi today.





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Sell gas to Essar, Ispat: Govt to RIL

New Delhi, June 16
The government has asked Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) to sell natural gas from its eastern offshore KG-D6 fields to steel firms like Essar and Ispat to help the country's most prolific gas field to produce at an optimum level.

The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas yesterday issued orders directing Reliance to sell 3.75 million standard cubic metres of gas per day to Essar Steel, Ispat Steel and Vikram Ispat, a top official said.

“We had identified sectors that would consume the initial 40 mmcmd output from KG-D6. But some of them like CNG supply projects in cities are unable to take their entire allocation and that is now being reallocated to steel firms,” he said.

Essar will get 2.86 mmcmd, Ispat 0.53 mmcmd and Vikram Ispat the remaining 0.36 mmcmd.

Reliance is currently restricting output from KG-D6 to just 28 mmcmd as not all of the power and fertiliser customers identified by the government are taking their full quota of allocation.

The official said after power and fertiliser, 5 mmcmd gas from KG-D6 was allocated for city gas projects but only 1.1 mmcmd can immediately be taken. The rest is now being distributed among steel firms.

The allocation will boost the profitability of steel firms, which had been buying expensive LNG or naphtha to meet feedstock shortage at their plants.

The official said the allocation had been made in accordance with the Empowered Group of Ministers' decision of April 9 to give unutilised KG-D6 gas to steel plants that were currently not being supplied their full share of fuel that was sold at administered prices.

Currently, Reliance can produce close to 40 mmcmd but is restricting output to 28 mmcmd in the absence of buyers. Of the 14.97 mmcmd allocated to the fertiliser sector, only 13 mmcmd is being supplied because some urea-making plants are shut down.

Of the 17.99 mmcmd earmarked for power, only 15 mmcmd is being sold while two big customers NTPC and Dabhol are yet to begin drawing the fuel.

After gas-based steel plants, allocations would also be made to existing gas-fired power plants and to other power plants, including captive plants, depending upon the availability of the unutilised gas, he said. — PTI

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Will latest iphone click?
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 16
At a time when the latest edition of iPhone from Apple's stable is matching the popularity of its predecessors in the US, it has failed to evoke a very enthusiastic response in India.

While Apple and its exclusive US carrier AT&T have claimed that pre-orders of the phone had sold out, customers here are not very upbeat with the coming of the latest edition in August mainly due to the steep pricing policy that the company has adopted for India.

Apple announced the launch of the faster, larger capacity and more capable iPhone 3GS last week and gave customers the option of pre-ordering them over the Internet. A 16-gigabyte capacity phone costs $199 with a two-year contract, while the 32GB version costs $299. However, as was the case in the launch of its previous model last year, the customers here expect the new handset to also cost a fortune. It would go against the marketing mathematics.

In India, Apple has exclusive tie-ups with Bharti and Vodafone. Incidentally, India is one of the few markets where the firm has a tie-up with two operators.

Despite huge customer support base that the two private telecom companies have, earlier model of the iPhone had been a huge failure. In terms of sales it failed due to both unviable distribution model and a steep price tag.

Customers here believed that the gadget would sport a similar price tag of $199 here. they were put off by the fact that they finally had to shell out more than three time’s the amount to buy the product.

According to reports, iPhone 3GS is set to its make debut in India in August but no specific date and the pricing is still available.

Mobile phone retailers are skeptical about the sale of the latest version and point out that it would face stiff competition from smartphones such as Nokia’s N97 and similar offerings from BlackBerry and Samsung. Nokia has the largest share in the Indian market and came out with its latest N-97 offering only last week with an intension of countering the latest version of iPhone.

Incidentally, experts point out that Apple’s decision to go for the sale of iPhone’s in India only with Bharti and Vodafone Essar was flawed as the GSM operators here are not major players in the handset retail space. So unless the company has plans to market the latest offering differently it could well be that it could be another failure for Apple’s iPhone here.

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Coal India disinvestment on cards

New Delhi, June 16
The Coal Ministry is working on a proposal to disinvest 5-10 per cent stake in Navratna PSU Coal India Ltd, a move which may pave way for early listing of the country's largest producer of the dry fuel.

“We are working on a proposal to disinvest 5-10 per cent stake in Coal India. I have informed the Finance Minister about it but we have not given it in writing,” Jaiswal told reporters here after holding a pre-budget meeting with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The Coal Ministry is looking to give a boost to R&R policy of CIL, by way of offering shares to people whose land is acquired for mining purposes. The company's shares could also be offered to its employees.

“We are working on the disinvestment proposal and (looking at options) if we can give those shares to our (CIL) employees and land holders," he said.

For divesting its stake in Coal India, the Coal Ministry would have to introduce a bill to amend the Coal Mines Nationalisation Act. The divesting of government's equity in the coal major would lead to early listing of the entity.

The firm was given the Navratna status in October 2008 and as per the rules, it has to get listed within three year ending October 2011. — PTI

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Spectrum allocation report put off till 3G auction
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 16
Telecom players holding spectrum space beyond 6.2 MHz have got some more breathing time with the government reportedly deciding to put on hold the implementation of report of the spectrum committee.

The committee, headed by additional secretary Subodh Kumar, has apparently suggested auction of radio waves beyond 6.2 MHz for existing 2G services.

It also suggested that the pricing of 2G spectrum should be related to the auction price of 3G. Keeping this in mind, the government feels it to be appropriate to consider the recommendations of the committee only after 3G auction.

Reports suggest that 3G auction may happen in August only after the Department of Telecom (DoT) takes up the issue with the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.

Going by this, the telecom operators having spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz would still have time as any decision on pricing the extra frequency would be taken only after August.

Earlier, the DoT had obtained the price of spectrum for those having it beyond 6.2 MHz at Rs 267 crore per MHz plus indexing it by PLR from the date of assignment of spectrum. However, this could not be implemented.

Currently, the DoT has been allocating extra spectrum beyond 6.2 MHz on the basis of subscriber norms and charges fixed spectrum fee based on quantity held by a respective operator.

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RNRL in race to hire LNG terminal

New Delhi, June 16
Anil Ambani Group firm Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL) has joined the race to hire the LNG terminal adjacent to the Dabhol power plant to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes.

RNRL joins the likes of Reliance Industries, Essar Oil and Indian Oil for hiring the five-million-tonne-a-year capacity LNG import facility on the basis of toll.

“There are eight companies (who put in expression of interest). RNRL is one of them,” said AK Ahuja, managing director of Ratnagiri Gas and Power, the company that operates the nation's biggest gas-fired power plant and the adjacent LNG import facility. Others in the fray include state power utility NTPC and GMR.

Ahuja said RGPPL would frame bidding criteria and call for financial bids by next month. — PTI

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RGPPL defers decision on CERC tariff order

New Delhi, June 16
The board of beleaguered Ratnagiri Gas and Power Pvt Ltd today considered the CERC order that raised tariff of electricity generated by it but deferred a decision till the next board meeting.

“CERC has gone strictly by the rule book to propose an electricity tariff. But this is not a rule book project and so rule book tariff cannot apply to it," an RGPPL official said.

The RGPPL board decided to wait for the outcome of the meeting between power secretary HS Brahma and Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) chairman Pramod Deo over next few days before arriving at a decision. — PTI

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Rlys registers growth despite recession
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 16
Despite the downturn, the Railways have registered an over 3 per cent growth in its revenues in the first two months of the current financial year.

As passenger bookings showed an increase of 5 per cent, an apparent fall out of the hike in prices of air travel, the PSU earned Rs 13,708.88 crore in April and May as against Rs 13,265.63 crore that it earned during the same period last year, registering an increase of 3.34 per cent.

A release issued by the Railways said out of total earnings, the goods earnings went up from Rs 9,126.99 crore to Rs 9,340.39 crore between April and May - an increase of 2.34 per cent.

Similarly, total passenger revenue earnings during the period were Rs 3,831 crore compared to Rs 3,636.57 crore during the same period last year, registering an increase of 5.35 per cent.

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Book on PR launched

Chandigarh, June 16
Iqbal Sachdeva, public relations manager for an American multi-national with an experience of about three decades, has written a book ‘Public relations — Principle & Practices’ the first copy of which was presented to Dr Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, in New Delhi today. The book is expected to serve the needs of PR students and professionals. It will facilitate a better understanding of the profession amongst students of public relations and media. — TNS

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BRIEFLY

Tatas to build electric, hybrid cars
MUMBAI:
Tata Motors has plans to use its Nano platform to build electric and hybrid cars and to produce more high-end models. “The Nano is just not a car for Tata Motors, it is also a platform to create more high-end models that will sell for higher prices and yield better margins,” Tata Group said highlighting the Innovation and Innovativeness of the company. — PTI

Extend 5-yr tax holiday to hotels: Assocham
NEW DELHI:
Assocham has sought extension of the five-year tax holiday scheme to five star hotels in the national capital region and infrastructure status for the sector in the Budget. The chamber also said the hotel industry should be exempted from tax on services received outside the country. — PTI

Qatar Airways inks $1.9-b deal with Airbus
DUBAI:
Qatar Airways has ordered 24 aircraft worth $1.9 billion from Airbus, as part of its business expansion strategy. The announcement came alongside another deal with Rolls-Royce, the global power systems company, which won a $230-million share of an order from the airlines for V2500 engines to power a total of 20 Airbus A320 and four A321 aircraft. — PTI

Lakshmi Overseas bags Rs 300-cr order
MUMBAI:
Chandigarh-based Lakshmi Energy and Foods on Tuesday said it had received an export order of about Rs 300 crore for supply of Pusa 1121 variety of Basmati rice. Lakshmi Energy and Foods, formerly known as Lakshmi Overseas Industries, said it had recently got an export order for Pusa 1121 Basmati rice worth about Rs 300 crore. — PTI

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