New Delhi: Bowing to pressure from the BJP and the left parties, the government today dropped a controversial addition in the civil nuclear liability bill, which the opposition said diluted the liability of suppliers for accidents caused by their negligence, reports PTI.
The Union Cabinet, at a meeting chaired by prime minister Manmohan Singh, put its stamp of approval on the Civil Liability for Nuclear Bill deciding to omit the word 'and' connecting two sub-clauses of the draft legislation.
With this, decks have been cleared for introduction of the bill in Parliament.
The Cabinet accepted almost all the key suggestions made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee which had submitted its report to Parliament two days back.
Sources said the amendments also made it clear that the operator cannot seek a right to recourse unless he has settled the full compensation claims of the victims of a nuclear accident.
The date of introduction of the Bill in Parliament is expected to be decided at a meeting of the business advisory committee of the Lok Sabha.
The semblance of consensus on the Bill was virtually shattered with left parties criticising the government of introducing the word 'and' between Clause 17 (a) and Clause 17 (b), a move they claimed diluted the obligation of foreign suppliers of nuclear equipment in case of an accident.
The BJP, which had agreed to support the bill, also joined the left and raised the matter with the government late last evening on addition the word in Clause 17 which says that "the operator of a nuclear installation shall have a right to recourse where—(A) such right is expressly provided for in a contract in writing".
The parties fear that insertion of the word 'and' dilutes the obligations on the suppliers of equipment in case of a nuclear accident.
The fresh concerns led to a series of consultations within the government all through the day yesterday and an agreement was reached within to not to accept the suggestion pertaining to that particular sub-clause in the committee report.
The report of Standing Committee on Science and Technology proposed that the Clause 17(A) may end with word 'and'.
It also proposed modification of Clause 17(b) to say "the nuclear incident has resulted as a consequence of latent or patent defect, supply of sub-standard material, defective equipment or services or from the gross negligence on the part of the supplier of the material, equipment or services".
Cairn India: The buzz in the market is that there are counterbids likely from RIL and ONGC. According to one report, Vedanta stands to make Rs5 billion if Cairn Energy fails to get shareholders’ nod for the deal or solicits a rival bid (a small price to pay if somebody seriously wants to counter bid). Another report states that since ONGC holds 30% in the Rajasthan block, it has the pre-emption or right of first refusal to buy Cairn India (in the block) in case of an ownership change. The block will be apparently valued at around $13 billion. Yet another report states that ONGC will be content to seek operator status on that block.
Tata Chemicals: Rakesh Jhunjhunwala is said to be accumulating the stock.
Tata Motors: There is some buzz of higher weightage in the MSCI index.
Austral Coke: Some rumours are floating around about Welspun looking at buying a stake. Austral makes low-ash metallurgical coke and refractories. It also trades in textiles and rents construction and earth-moving equipment. The promoter company also owns Gremach. Be warned that in January this year the government had ordered an enquiry by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office into alleged financial irregularities by Austral Coke. The corporate affairs ministry had apparently some evidence of fund diversion, manipulation of accounts, and tax evasion by the company. Austral is promoted by Ratan Lal Tamakhuwala and Rishi Raj Agarwal. Welspun is promoted by BK Goenka.
Oriental Hotels: Talk of promoters upping stake and a PE funding also coming in. In July this year, it talked of investing around Rs1.6 billion over the next two years in renovation and upgradation. The company is the Chennai-based associate company of Tata Group's Indian Hotels (which holds 19% in the company). It owns eight hotels with a total of 870 rooms. It is promoted by the Reddy family headed by Varada Reddy.
The company has been announcing that it has a lot of projects to be launched in the near future. But the trading in its scrip is more interesting than its purported growth plan
Arshiya International Ltd, part of the Arshiya Group, is a listed entity on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange (NSE). It is an integrated supply chain and logistics infrastructure solutions provider.
On 18th August, Arshiya International announced the launch of its first free trade warehousing zone (FTWZ) in Mumbai. The company also announced plans for huge investments in its various other proposed projects.
The shares of Arshiya International have been volatile today, ahead of the launch of the company's first FTWZ. The stock opened at Rs296 on the BSE and Rs300 on the NSE today. It touched a high of Rs305.80 and a low of Rs291.55 on the BSE. Similarly, the stock touched a high of Rs306 and a low of Rs292 on the NSE.
The stock has also gained over the past three days. On 17 August 2010, the stock closed at Rs282.50 on the BSE. On 18th August it closed at Rs292.95 and today it closed at Rs296.75. The stock price has increased by 5% compared to the close on 17th August.
It appears that there has been a lot of insider trading going on in the company before its major launch announcements, based on Arshiya's disclosures to the NSE and BSE. The media has also been flooded with reports on the company's ambitious growth plans.
Before the 18th August announcement, the company disclosed three main insider trades to the BSE. These three trades were undertaken by V Shivkumar and Sandesh Chonkar, both executive directors of the company.
On the other hand, Ashish Bairagra, independent director, Arshiya International, reduced his shareholding in the company to nil from the earlier 0.085% that he had held. The shares were offloaded through a market sale on 22nd July and were intimated to the company on 26th July 2010.
G Hariharan, group legal counsel and head corporate governance, also increased his shareholding in the company from nil to 0.014% through a market purchase of 8,000 shares on 29th July 2010.
On 30th July 2010, the company informed the BSE that Mr Chonkar had purchased 20,000 shares through market purchase. This allotment was made on 29th July 2010.
On the same date, Mr Shivkumar had acquired 21,000 shares through market purchase. This allotment was made on 29th July. On 16th August, the company disclosed that Mr Chonkar had purchased 2500 equity shares through market purchase. This allotment was made on 13th August.