New Delhi: In an effort to build bridges with the Ajit Singh-led Rastriya Lok Dal, or RLD, and ahead of the trust vote in the Lok Sabha on 22 July, the United Progressive Alliance, or UPA, on Thursday decided to name the Lucknow airport after the late prime minister and Ajit Singh’s father, Charan Singh.
The decision to rename the Amausi airport in Lucknow as Chaudhary Charan Singh Airport “was a long-pending demand”, finance minister P. Chidambaram told reporters after the cabinet meeting. Ajit Singh, whose party has three members in the Lok Sabha, said though the decision was late, he appreciated the move.
Talking to reporters, Chidambaram also claimed there are signs that the central bank’s monetary measures to contain inflationary pressures are working.
On Thursday, government data showed the Wholesale Price Index, or WPI, rose 11.91% in the 12 months to 5 July, just above the previous week’s annual rise of 11.89%.
“I met RBI (Reserve Bank of India) governor Y.V. Reddy. Governor said there is still pressure on prices... I am in broad agreement with him,” Chidambaram said.
In another decision, the cabinet decided to give its nod for the “upgradation and strengthening” of 5,000km of national highways. Of this, 1,000km will be built on a build, operate and transfer (annuity) basis, the finance minister added.
The cabinet also approved funding for six GSLV (geo-synchronous satellite launch vehicle) operational flights at an estimated cost of Rs1,281 crore, to help meet the growing need for transponders for meteorological and navigational services.
The cabinet also gave its approval to move official amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetics Amendment Bill, 2005, which calls for harsh punishment to people involved in the manufacture and sale of spurious drugs.
The Bill, pending in the Rajya Sabha, proposes to increase the quantum of punishment to a person involved in crimes related to the manufacture and sale of spurious drugs.
(PTI contributed to this story.)
Radio audience now a live measure in Kolkata
Mumbai: TAM Media Research Pvt. Ltd has launched its RAM (Radio Audience Measurement) service, a radio listenership live panel, in Kolkata adding to Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
RAM is based on the diary methodology where 480 respondents each in Mumbai, New Delhi and Bangalore and now Kolkata log the details of the radio programmes they listen to each day in their diary, which will form the basis for tabulating the weekly radio listenership ratings for these markets. Advertisers use the data for their radio spending decisions. About 4% of total media spending in India is on radio though it is growing at 30% annually in volume. For the first time ever, Kolkata radio stations have been ranked. RAM data from week 23-27 (1st June to 5th July 2008) in demographics 12-year-plus in shows Radio Mirchi is leading with 21% market share while Big FM is at 20% Friends FM and Red FM have 11% each. Meow FM and Aamar FM have 8%. Fever 104, owned by HT Media Ltd, which publishes Mint, is shown at 7%, according to data shared with Mint by two separate radio operators. Anushree Chandran
Fighter plane engine to propel Navy’s destroyer
Bangalore: India’s Gas Turbine Research Establishment, or GTRE, has modified a fighter plane engine to propel small ships of the Indian Navy.
GTRE, an arm of the country’s Defence Research and Development Organization, or DRDO, recently tested the 12MW Kaveri marine gas turbine—which it has been developing for over two decades—at a naval dockyard in Visakhapatnam, Tamil Nadu.
The Kaveri turbines will power Indian Navy’s Russian-built, 5-tonne Rajput class destroyers, according to a defence ministry statement. It will develop and test around 10 engines over the next five years, before the Navy uses it in operational ships.
“Even China, which is far ahead of India in shipbuilding, has not been able to develop (a gas turbine engine),” Gurpreet Khurana, research fellow at New Delhi-based Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses told Mint by phone. “It puts India in a elite club”. The UK’s Rolls Royce Group Plc., Russia’s Saturn NPO OAO and the US’s General Electric Co. are among the few firms that have the capability to manufacture gas turbine engines, that help ships to start and move faster with less noise, unlike steam or diesel engines. Staff Writer
PSA files writ against Ennore bid exclusion
Bangalore: PSA Ennore Pte Ltd, the entity floated by PSA International, the world’s second biggest container port operator owned by the government of Singapore, to bid for the Ennore project, has filed a writ petition in Chennai high court seeking a stay on the tendering process for building a new Rs1,300 crore container terminal at the central government-owned Ennore port, after it was excluded from the process.
It has also sought scrapping of the on-going tender and issue of a fresh tender. Ennore port authorities had excluded global operators such as PSA and DP World from the tendering process to fall in line with a government policy to restrict the number of short-listed bidders for port projects to six. P. Manoj
Notices to Centre, state on provident fund scam
New Delhi: In a petition seeking an inquiry by an independent agency into the Uttar Pradesh provident fund scam in which members from the judiciary, including a sitting Supreme Court judge have been allegedly involved, the apex court issued notices to the Centre and the state government asking for their response. The scam relates to the siphoning off of Rs24 crore from the provident fund share of Class-IV government employees in Uttar Pradesh allegedly in “connivance” with judicial officers and judges. The petition was filed by Nahar Singh Yadav of the Adhivakta Kalyan Trust, Ghaziabad and Devendra Sharma, president of the Bar Association of India. Malathi Nayak
RCom faces arbitration notice on MTN talks
India’s second largest mobile phone operator, Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom), said it had received a notice for arbitration from Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) over its merger talks with South Africa’s MTN Group Ltd.
RCom and MTN, Africa’s largest mobile phone company, are in exclusive talks to combine their businesses. The two companies last month said they had received letters from RIL threatening to block any stake sale in the Indian wireless carrier that doesn’t give it an opportunity to buy the shares.
RCom is controlled by billionaire chairman Anil Ambani, while RIL is run by his older brother Mukesh Ambani.
“Reliance Industries’ notice for arbitration proceedings are legally and factually unwarranted,” RCom said in an emailed statement from Mumbai on Thursday.
MTN and RCom agreed on 9 July to extend their merger talks until 21 July in a bid to reach an agreement that could create an estimated $ 70-billion (Rs3 trillion) entity.
RIL started arbitration proceedings after RCom “refused to participate in conciliation meetings,” RIL said in a separate emailed statement on Thursday.
RIL also nominated an arbitrator to resolve the dispute with RCom, whose negotiations with MTN have come under a cloud after the bitter wrangle between the two Indian companies erupted.
“RIL has commenced arbitration proceedings by nominating justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy, a former judge of the Supreme Court of India, as an arbitrator for the resolution of the disputes,” the statement said. Rcom accused RIL of “successfully destroying” India’s image in foreign eyes, adding that the Mukesh Ambani-led company’s “sole objective was to derail talks with MTN and frustrate a possible combination.”
RIL had written last month to the two companies that it had the right of first refusal for a majority holding in Rcom and threatened legal action in case the right was breached. Bloomberg
(PTI contributed to this story.)
Ansal properties says stake sale talks false
New Delhi: In response to an article in ‘The Economic Times’ that Citigroup and Warburg Pincus are in talks with Ansal Properties and Infrastructure Ltd to pick up a 15% stake in the company’s proposed 2,500 acre township project, Rs.The Megapolis’ near Greater Noida, Ansal has clarified that the news is not factual.
In a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), Ansal said that the news of the stake sale to any investor for Rs1,900 crore is not the factual position. According to the report, the deal is likely to be finalised in two months.
Shares of the Ansal company rose 5.4% to Rs86.80 each in a broader market, which, measured by the BSE’s benchmark index, Sensex, expanded nearly 4.3%. Shabana Hussain