Need To Know | Death toll in Assam violence rises to 40

Need To Know | Death toll in Assam violence rises to 40

New Delhi: Forty people are dead in Assam, including 17 shot by the police, after four days of ethnic clashes that forced thousands to flee their homes.

Fighting broke out on 3 October in the Udalguri district between Bodo tribespeople and Muslim settlers from Bangladesh, and spread to other areas. The sides have been involved in long-standing land disputes in the state.

Incidents of violence have been reported from Chirang district, though it’s unclear whether they were related to the rioting, state home commissioner Rajiv Kumar Bora over the telephone.

Assam’s riots came after communal violence in Orissa, where clashes between Hindus and Christians since August have killed more than 30 people.

— Bloomberg


MoU not needed to thrash dispute: RIL

Mumbai: The legal counsel of Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), India’s second largest oil refining and largest petrochemical company, argued against production of a 2005 family agreement document, in the Bombay high court on Monday, saying that the memorandum of understanding (MoU) was not necessary to thrash out the ongoing dispute over sharing of gas from Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin. The MoU was the basis for dividing the unified business of Reliance between estranged brothers, Mukesh and Anil Ambani, three years ago.

RIL lawyer Harish Salve, responding to a plea by Anil Ambani-controlled Reliance Natural Resources Ltd (RNRL), said the MoU was “not a pleaded document" and asked why, if it was so crucial to RNRL’s case, it wasn’t produced by it so far. RNRL is laying claim on 28 million standard cu. m of gas per day, to be given for 17 years at $2.34 (Rs111.15) per British thermal unit (Btu)—a demand that will make RIL lose a considerable sum of money as the government has approved the gas price at $4.2 Btu and prevailing spot prices are almost five times that figure at $18-20 Btu. The HC bench consisting of justice J.N. Patel and justice K.K. Tated, will continue hearing the case on Tuesday.

— Bhuma shrivastava


DRL shares fall 13% after drug delay report

Hyderabad: Shares of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd fell by 12.9% on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) on Monday, on a day when the broader Sensex fell by 5.78% and the health care index declined by 4.79%. DRL closed at Rs476.9 a share, well below the 52-week high of Rs760 a share.

Mint reported on Monday that the clinical trials of Dr Reddy’s drug candidate, Balaglitazone, may be delayed because of financial troubles being faced by Danish biotechnology company Rheoscience A/S, which signed an agreement in September 2005 for co-development and commercialization of Balaglitazone.

The article noted that Rheoscience’s parent, Nordic Biosciences is likely to take over the trials of Balaglitazone in the event of Rheoscience winding up due to financial difficulties.

— Staff Writer


COAI opposes internal number portability

New Delhi: The Cellular Operators Association of India, or COAI, an industry lobby representing mobile phone service firms using Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications standard, has expressed apprehension that a government proposal to allow customers of one operator to switch between networks it runs services on will lead to losses to the exchequer and misuse of spectrum.

According to COAI, if allowed, what is called internal number portability by the department of telecommunications (DoT) could potentially cause the government financial loss and also misappropriation of spectrum.

The proposal, if implemented, would have benefited firms such as Tata Teleservices Ltd (TTSL) and Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom) that have adopted for dual technology—GSM and code division multiple access (CDMA)—for providing mobile phone services, as also state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd and Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd.

Both TTSL and RCom have procured licences to provide GSM-based phone services early this year. As of August, just one of every four mobile phone user in India’s 300 million mobile phone customers use CDMA-based services.

T.V. Ramachandran, director general of COAI, in a presentation made to the DoT, a copy of which was reviewed by Mint, had said, “Since the portability is non-transparent and difficult to audit and administer, there could be manipulation in the payment of spectrum usage charge resulting in heavy loss of revenue to the government."

Calls to RCom spokesmen for comment were unanswered. Spokesmen for TTSL declined comment.

R. Jai Krishna