Citizens' Issues
Water is must and cannot be abruptly cut off says Consumer Forum

The Forum, coming down heavily on Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corp asked it to restore the water connection of the CHS within 72 hours

Thane: The Thane District Consumer Redressel Forum has held that water connection to any consumer is essential and civic corporation cannot abruptly cut it off, reports PTI.
The forum came down heavily on Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) and ordered it to restore the water connection to the Bhayander-based Sai Anusuya cooperative housing society within 72 hours.
The society filed a complaint against the MBMC when its water connection was cut off because at the time of making an application for water connection, it had not informed the corporation about a civil suit pending in court against MBMC.
On 24 April 2012, the MBMC issued a notice stating that the society had in its application for water connection concealed the fact that there was a civil case pending against the corporation. Therefore, it had betrayed the corporation and hence cut off the water connection to the society.
However, the society, while approaching the forum on 22 May 2012, submitted before it that the suit was between the builder and the corporation and the society was not aware of it and informed about the hardships being faced by them and prayed for restoration of water supply.
The forum said the respondents ought to have obtained full information from the complainant before providing the connection. It had provided the connection based on the application and the agreement and the corporation was passing on the blame on the society and disconnected the water supply, which was illegal.
The MBMC cannot cut off the water connection, the forum said in its order issued on Monday.
As the corporation has for a long time without any action kept the supply going, therefore till the complaint is finally disposed off, it should keep one of the supplies on as it is an essential and emergency service, the forum said.


Poor exports hits Bajaj Auto in Q1, net profit remains flat at Rs718 crore

Amidst subdued demand, disruption in its export market and cost pressures, Bajaj Auto has reported weak results in the June quarter 

Bajaj Auto, India’s second largest two-wheeler company, has posted a marginal increase in net profit, which increased by only 0.98% year-on-year (y-o-y) to Rs718.39 crore for the quarter ended 30 June 2012. Meanwhile, its sales increased just 3% y-o-y to Rs4,865.66 crore for the latest quarter. Despite marginal increases in net profit and sales, its sales numbers have dipped amidst increased competition and a benign automotive market, underlying serious economic weakness and disruption in exports. 
The most disappointing aspect of Bajaj Auto has been its sales and profit figures, even if they have increased. It reported only a 3% increased in y-o-y net sales, which is far below its three-quarter y-o-y average growth rate of 12%. Similarly, its operating profits leave a lot to be desired; its operating profits grew by 4% y-o-y, to Rs871.71 crore, which is less than its three-quarter y-o-y growth in operating profit of 18%. 
However, on a sequential basis, its operating profits actually dipped by 5.31%, while its sales didn’t increase by much. This effectively underscores the difficulty in which the manufacturer is facing on the cost front, especially as inventories increase due to inability to sell in export markets. Its operating profit margins hardly budged, moved up by just seven basis percentage points, y-o-y, to 17.92%. However, its valuation is somewhat a little high, with its market capitalisation quoting at roughly 12 times its operating profit. It has a healthy return on networth, at 50%. 
According to the company’s press release, Bajaj Auto has reported weak sales volumes, managing to sell only 10,78,971 vehicles for the June 2012 quarter, which is 1% less than what it sold for the same period last year, even though the domestic market grew by 6%. The company cited subdued demand, disruption in exports and rising oil prices as chief reasons for poor performance. Its sales volumes comprises sports, standard and deluxe categories which contributed to 16%, 24% and 60% of the domestic volumes respectively. However, in the deluxe segment, it witnessed a sharp decline of 16% in volumes while the overall deluxe market grew by 3%. The market share of the sports, deluxe and standard categories were 46%, 18% and 29% respectively. 
One of the key factors that has dented its sales was inability to sell in the export markets while the inventory piled up, adding to costs. This was largely due to the disruption the company faced, on many fronts. Sales to Egypt were affected by political unrest while sales to Sri Lanka were affected by duty hikes. Cumulatively, it has lost 25,000 units in this quarter because of the export roadblock. Bajaj Auto, along with its distributor, has undertaken pro-active measures like rationalising the end-user cost of vehicles in Sri Lanka and expects normalcy in sales to return by end of next quarter, the press release quoted. On the other hand, African and Latin American markets performed well. 
It plans to release the next generation Pulsar 200 NS motorbike at the pan-India level shortly and hopes that this will strengthen its position. To counter the lacklustre deluxe segment, it has planned some new launches on the back of its Discover 125 ST which was launched in mid-June which received good response.
Despite lacklustre profits, its share price jumped by over 4%, to Rs1,517.25 on Bombay Stock Exchange. 


Jharkhand chief secretary fined for not replying to HC directive

The High Court pulled up Jharkhand government for not adhering to its direction and imposed a fine of Rs10,000 each on state chief secretary and welfare department secretary

Ranchi: The Jharkhand High Court on Wednesday pulled up the state government for not adhering to its direction to reply on a case pertaining to Schedule Area Regulation Act and imposed a fine of Rs10,000 each on the chief secretary and the state welfare department secretary, reports PTI.


Slapping the penalties, the division bench of Chief Justice Prakash Tatia and Justice Jaya Roy observed that remaining silent and not filing reply by the state government was tantamount to contempt of court.


The observation by the bench came in the wake of the state government failing to file a reply on a court's direction in 2010 following three separate PIL by three persons---MA Ahmed, Upendra Mahato and KJ Yadav---which were clubbed together by the court.


According to their writ, some areas were allegedly marked as scheduled even in areas where tribal population was less than 50% and urged to de-notify those schedule areas with no tribal population.


The court directed the government to file reply by 24th July and set 26th July as the next date for hearing.


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