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India Post surveying cable connections in Gujarat
Our Regional Bureau / Ahmedabad May 10, 2005
The Gujarat circle of department of posts is conducting a survey to identify the accurate number of cable connections in Bodakdev, Ambawadi, Memnagar, Vastrapur and Judges Bungalow area.
 
“The entertainment tax collector has came up with a proposal to survey cable television operators and identify the number of connections in and around the city,” DKS Chauhan, director postal services, Gujarat Circle, said.
 
“To start with, we have identified a few posh residential localities in the western part of the city where the cable penetration is higher than other parts of the city. After the completion of the survey in these areas, the department of post will survey other areas too,” Chauhan said.
 
On why the postal department is undertaking such a survey, Chauhan said, “It is being conducted to check whether cable operators are involved in any racket to evade entertainment tax by actual concealing the number of connections.”
 
Moreover, the government wants to cross check the data on number of cable connections in the city provided by cable operators.
 
“Postmen are conducting a house-to-house survey. They are seeking the details, while delivering letters and parcels. This saves time and no extra effort and manpower are needed for the survey,” Chauhan said.
 
Apart from this, the state government has also prepared a questionnaire. Postmen who are involved in the survey are also getting incentives, Chauhan added.
 
On the status of the survey, Chauhan said, “At present, the survey is going smoothly and will take more time to arrive at a final conclusion. However, as per the initial findings of private survey agencies, cable connections in the city are far more than those reported by cable operators.”
 
It was found that the government is loosing huge amounts of revenue by the non registration of cable television operators and by giving false data about the number of cable connections.
 
It may be recalled that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its 2003 report states that as many as 146 operators in Vadodara, Bhuj, Himmatnagar, Khambhat, Mandvi, Patan and Anand evaded tax for 3-4 years.
 
The state government has asked the commissioner of entertainment tax to maintain a proper record of the actual number of cable connections in every city.

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Oil group Burren Energy today said it was buying more than a quarter of India’s only publicly quoted oil and gas explorer.

Burren said it had bought a 26% stake in Hindustan Oil Exploration Company (HOEC) for $26m (€20m).

The deal represents Burren’s first corporate acquisition since its flotation in December 2003.

HOEC is based in Vadodara, Gujarat and has a market capitalisation of $138m (€106.1m). It is quoted on the National Stock Exchange of India and the Bombay Stock Exchange.

It has a portfolio of onshore and offshore assets at Cauvery off the coast of Tamil Nadu, the southernmost state of India, as well as Cambay and Assam.

Burren said HOEC presented a chance to enter the Indian oil and gas industry, which offered a significant oil and gas exploration opportunity given India’s energy needs and its government’s current efforts to attract private companies into the business.

London-based Burren said it intended to make India the fourth leg of its business, complementing its existing interests in the Caspian Sea and west and north Africa.

Chief executive Finian O’Sullivan said: “This investment in HOEC is very compelling for Burren.”

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