Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Petrol prices hiked by Rs. 3 per litre

Oil major Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) on Tuesday hiked petrol prices by about Rs. 2.95 per litre, following a spike in international crude oil prices.

The hike would be effective from Tuesday midnight. This would be the fourth hike after government’s decision to deregulate petrol prices.

Other two state-run refiners Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) will also hike petrol prices by Rs. 2.40 - 2.95 per litre from Thursday, sources told NDTV.

The oil ministry on Tuesday gave the three companies a go-ahead to raise petrol prices after international crude oil prices touched $90 per barrel.
The state-run refiners had on November 9 raised petrol price by Rs. 0.32 per litre to Rs. 52.91 a litre in Delhi.

IOC, BPCL and HPCL have revised rates only four times since June 26 when petrol price was deregulated, while crude oil has jumped from $73-74 per barrel at that time to $90 a barrel now.

A similar hike in diesel rates is likely to be considered by an Empowered Group of Ministers headed by Pranab Mukherjee on December 22.

After Tuesday’s increase, petrol prices have gone up by Rs. 4.44 a litre since deregulation.

The basket of crude oil India buys was at $89.34 per barrel on Monday. It has averaged $88.47 per barrel in December as against about $79 a barrel at the time of last hike in petrol price on November 9.

If prices are not revised, IOC, BPCL and HPCL are likely to end the fiscal with close to Rs. 67,000 crore revenue losses on sale of diesel, domestic LPG and kerosene below cost.

The oil retailers lose Rs. 272.19 on the sale of every 14.2-kg LPG cylinder and Rs. 17.72 per litre of kerosene.

Gujarat face uphill task as Tamil Nadu will go all out on home turf

Chennai, Dec 14: With a dim chance lying at the fourth position behind Delhi, Gujarat will be under pressure when they face host Tamil Nadu in the last Elite Group A Super League match in the Ranji Trophy cricket championship here tomorrow.

With 14 points, Tamil Nadu have virtually made it to the quarter finals in the second position behind leaders Mumbai.

Gujarat have 13. Both the teams have had just one outright victory each in the Super League.

If the weather Gods do not play spoil sport again, Tamil Nadu who turned the tables on Mumbai in their last game, would be pressing hard for an outright win. Even a first innings lead will cement their place in the quarters unless Delhi beat Mumbai outright and Bengal beat Railways with a bonus point.

The powerful batting of the home team will once again look to S Badrinath, Abhinav Mukund and K B Arun Karthick.

And the return of off-spinner R Ashwin, who will replace Arunkumar, will add sharpness to their bowling.

But Gujarat, who will have stumper Parthiv Patel returning to the side after missing the previous game, will be looking for big innings from left hander Neeraj Patel(344 runs this season) and P K Panchal(312 runs). Parthiv will also add sharpness to the line up.

Their bowling will be in the hands of right arm medium pacer Eshwar Chauhan(20 wickets), Sahil Yadav (12) and leg break bowler Sunny Patel.

Swamy alleges spectrum scam compromised India's security

Sivaganga, Tamil Nadu, Dec 14 : ''The security of India is at stake in the multi-crore 2G spectrum scam in view of allocation of radio waves to some foreign companies, which had sold them to our enemy nations,'' alleged Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy.
Talking to newspersons after performing a special ''yagnam'' at Sri Panchamuga Prathyangira Devi Temple here this evening, Dr Swamy, who had filed a PIL in the apex court seeking permission for criminal prosecution of Mr A Raja, the then Telecom Minister, alleged ''our enemy nations like Pakistan could have easy access to our defence, police and other secrets.

''They can precisely strike even the places of top scientists and leaders of our country,'' he said.

Dr Swamy expressed his apprehension that the huge money acquired from the spectrum scandal will flow like a river during the coming elections by the ruling party men.

''I will wait till the presentation of General Budget. If no action is taken against Raja before the presentation of Union Budget, then I will file criminal case against him,'' he said.

Tamil Nadu govt denies it is selling farmers' land to MNCs

Chennai, Dec 13 : The Tamil Nadu government today denied reports in a section of the media that it was making profits by purchasing lands from farmers at a low rate and selling them to multi-national companies at higher rates, like those involved in real estate business.

Stating that such reports amounted to a disinformation campaign against the government, an official release here said the government never sold lands to multi-national companies. On the other hand, it gave the lands on lease while retaining the ownership.

Ever since SIPCOT was started in 1971 for the purpose of providing lands to industries, the government had been setting up industrial complexes only by making use of government poramboke lands.

Only when there was no sufficient poramboke lands in a particular region, the government acquired private lands, that too, lands which were not used for cultivation. ''At no point, the government acquired cultivable lands'', the release asserted.

During the last 15 years, the government had acquired 13,490 acres of land, of which non-cultivable lands accounted only for 269 acres, it said, adding this constitued only two per cent of the total acquired lands.

When private lands are acquired, the government pays the compensation to the owners, taking into account, the market price, guidance value and the development activities of the surrounding region, it said.

After developing the lands for industries, the government gives the lands on lease basis, covering the cost, it had spent for developing the lands. SIPCOT is functioning only for the development of industries without any profit motive, the release added.

Just born female elephant calf rescued

Coimbatore, Dec 13 : Forest officials today rescued a just born female elephant calf at the Sirumugai Forest Range and were spending anxious moments to unite the calf with its mother.

Sirumugai Forest Range officials rushed to the Umalapalayam forest area this morning, on hearing mysterious noise raised by a herd of about seven elephants, including two females.

On reaching the area around 0730 hrs, they found a just-born female calf, found abandoned and stuggling for life.

They brought the calf and gave it milk and tender coconut water, but their efforts to unite the calf with its mother failed till late this evening.

They carried on their shoulders, the 75 kg weighing calf to the forest on watching movements of the herd of seven elephants, but they refused to take back the calf.

Unwilling to give up the efforts, the forest officials brought back the calf and decided to take it to the spot, from where they had rescued it and wait tonight for the mother elephant to come and take back the calf.

A forest range official said the mother elephant would have abandoned the calf, due to human interference in the forest area. Lack of maternal instinct of the mother elephant could also be a reason, the official said.

Friendly 'bike race' on Marina beach stretch claims one life

Chennai, Dec 13 : High speed bike racing on the Marina beach stretch by a group of youths, in violation of the ban, proved fatal for one of them in the city last night.
Police said Dasthagir Ali and a group of his friends organised a race among themselves from the War Memorial near the Secretariat to Besant Nagar, a distance of 10 to 12 kms.

When they reached Anna Square junction, Dastagir Ali, who was riding his two-wheeler at top seed, jumped the traffic signal, rammed his vehicle into a TVs scooty and was thrown off.

His head hit the platform and he died on the spot.

Two women, who were travelling on the scooty, sustained serious injuries and were admitted to a hospital.

Police had banned high speed bike racing on the beach road after two people had died due to accidents during such racing. Public outcry forced the police to ban the racing.

PMK demands release of Karaikal Dist Secretary

Puducherry, Dec 13 : Reiterating the charge that the Puducherry Administration has misused the National Security Act (NSA) to arrest PMK Karaikal District Secretary Jayamani, Puducherry PMK state Secretary Anantharaman, today demanded his immediate release.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Anantharaman said Puducherry was a peaceful Union Territory and the NSA was not necessary here.

The MLA said the party would organise a series of agitations shortly to press the release of Jayamani.

Jayamani along with two others was arrested under NSA on charges of human trafficking.

Condemning the government for its reported move to cancel 32,000 bogus ration cards, Mr Anantharaman said it was puerly a fault of Civil Supplies Department to issue ration cards solely based on evidences given by a third party. Now they also be provided with rain relief and all other items supplied through the ration shops, he demanded.

To press this, the PMK would organise a demonstration in front of the civil supplies department on December 17, he added.

Karunanidhi slams Sri Lanka for scrapping national anthem in Tamil

Chennai, Dec 13 : Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Monday condemned Sri Lanka's decision to abolish the Tamil version of its national anthem.

Citing news reports about the decision, Karunanidhi issued a statement saying: "If the news is true, then it should be strongly condemned."

He said such a move will further hurt the sentiments of Sri Lankan Tamils.

According to him, the island nation had its national anthem in two language since both Sinhalese and Tamils lived there.

At present, the Sinhala version of Sri Lanka Matha is used in all parts of the country, except in the North and the East, where there is a large Tamil population.

No hasty decision on unitary varsity: Karunanidhi

Chennai, Dec 13 : Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today assured his government would not take any decision that went against the students and teachers and said the agitations by some teachers associations on granting unitary university status to two colleges was not necessary.

In a statement, he referred to the ongoing agitations by some teachers associations to oppose the State Higher Education Department's move to convert the twocolleges into unitary universities.

Referring to reports in a section of the press recalling his assurance in the state Assembly following objections by Opposition when the government tabled a Bill in this regard, Mr Karunanidhi said his assurance that the government would not act against the teachers and students still stands.

He said he had already announced that the Bill, tabled in the House, would be referred to the Select Committee which was yet to take a decision on the issue.

The Chief Minister said the Committee was scheduled to meet on December 14 but it was cancelled due to rains. he said, adding the Higher Education Department was not taking any steps to get the Bill passed.

''But some teachers associations, thinking that the Select Committee will take a decision on December 14, had in advance started launching agitations'', he said.

''The government or the Higher Education Department will not take any decisions that contradicted the assurance given by me in the House and the agitations by some teachers association are unnecessary'', he added.