Centre scraps Antrix-Dewas deal

Prime minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday that the delay in scrapping the Antrix-Dewas was "only procedural' and added that the deal had never been operationalised. He rejected suggestions that his office had held "backroom" talks with Devas

New Delhi: The controversial S-band spectrum deal between the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) commercial arm Antrix and private firm Devas Multimedia was scrapped today, reports PTI.

The decision to annul the deal was taken at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) chaired by prime minister Manmohan Singh on the basis of a recommendation from the Space Commission.

The annulment comes in the wake of a raging controversy over the deal for handing over 70 Mhz of S-Band spectrum to the private firm for Rs1,000 crore on which the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has already initiated action.

According to certain estimates, this deal may have resulted in a loss of Rs2 lakh crore to the exchequer.

After news reports about the possible revenue loss appeared, the government and ISRO said the project was already under review and action has been initiated for termination of the contract.

The prime minister yesterday said that the deal had never been operationalised and rejected suggestions that his office had held "backroom" talks with Devas after the Space Commission's decision to scrap the deal.

He had said that if there has been delay in scrapping the deal, this has been "only procedural".

Devas Multimedia had yesterday termed as "disturbing and inappropriate" the government's "unilateral" decision to terminate the agreement and threatened to take legal action.

It said the government had reached the decision "without due investigative process and without following the principles of natural justice".

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Honda recalls 57,853 City sedans in India

Last year, Honda recalled over 10 lakh vehicles across different markets in the world to replace faulty parts, ranging from power window switch to safety airbags

New Delhi: Japanese auto major Honda today said it is recalling 57,853 units of its mid-sized sedan City in India to replace a faulty engine part, as part of a global exercise, reports PTI.

The company, which runs operations in India through a joint venture with the Siel Group-Honda Siel Cars India (HSCI)-said the recall will cover only the third-generation City models that were manufactured between November 2008 and December 2009.

In a statement, HSCI said it would carry out preventive part replacement of the lost motion spring in the valve train of the City sedans being recalled.

"HSCI is proactively replacing the part in these vehicles with a new improved part," it said.

The defective lost motion springs, which are compressed by rocker arms in normal engine use, may bend or break over time, resulting in abnormal engine noise and potentially causing engine stalling and problems in re-starting, the statement added.

"The replacement would be carried out free of cost and the company will communicate directly with the owners of the cars which are covered under this part replacement," it said.

Dealerships have been updated about the part replacement and the new part is being dispatched to the dealerships in phases for smooth execution and to avoid any inconvenience to customers, HSCI said.

"HSCI is carrying out the part replacement as part of a global exercise by Honda Motor Company to ensure stringent quality standards for its products," the company said.

Meanwhile, Honda Motor Company today announced that it is recalling 6,93,497 units of its Freed, Fit and City models globally to fix a faulty spring in the engine.

"The global recall does not impact the Honda Jazz sold in India. The recall announced by Honda applies to certain units of Fit/Jazz fitted with 1.5L i-VTEC engine, which is sold in other countries and not sold in India," HSCI said.

The latest recall comes at a time when HSCI has been struggling to keep its sales counter ticking in India. In the April2010-January 2011period of the current fiscal, the company sold a total of 51,044 vehicles, compared to 49,600 units in the year-ago period, a growth of just 2.91%, as against the industry average of around 30%.

In January, 2010, Honda recalled 8,532 units of its second-generation City sedan, manufactured in 2007, in India due to a defective power window switch, as part of a global recall initiative.

Last year, Honda recalled over 10 lakh vehicles across different markets in the world to replace faulty parts, ranging from power window switch to safety airbags.

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Food inflation at 9-week low of 11.05% for the week ended 5th Feb

At 11.05% during the week ended 5th February, food inflation was at its lowest level since 4th December 2010, when it stood at 9.46%

New Delhi: Food inflation fell for the second straight week to a nine-week low of 11.05% for the week ended 5th February from 13.07% in the previous week,  as prices of pulses, wheat and potato prices declined, reports PTI.

On an annual basis, prices of potatoes declined by 13.63%, while pulses became 5.88% cheaper and wheat was 2.54% less expensive, according to government data.

However, on the whole, vegetables became nearly 24% costlier during the week under review, pushed up mainly by a 31.33% increase in onion prices.

Furthermore, fruit and milk prices rose by 12.21% and 11.66%, respectively, while eggs, meat and fish became dearer by 15.14% on an annual basis.

At 11.05% during the week ended 5th February, food inflation was at its lowest level since 4th December 2010, when it stood at 9.46%.

Meanwhile, headline inflation as measured by the wholesale price index for the month of January 2011 declined marginally to 8.23% from 8.43% in the previous month. The headline inflation based on wholesale prices has remained above the 8% mark since January last year.

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