Mumbai Bandh To Hit India Inc As Firms Postpone Board Meets

Mumbai, July 29: | Updated: Jul 30 2003, 05:30am hrs
Its not going to be just another manic bandh day. The politics of bandhs is slated to take a heavy toll of corporate life.

The Mumbai bandh called on Wednesday by the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to protest against the state governments laxity towards security in wake of the Ghatkopar bomb blast has put a spanner in the functioning of industry in the city. The bandh has affected corporate India by forcing big companies like Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) to reschedule their board meetings for announcing their quarterly results.

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The RIL board was to meet on Wednesday to take on record its first-quarter results of the current fiscal. The board meeting has been postponed to July 31 in view of the bandh.

The bandh is set to affect trades in the inter-bank market, even though it will be a normal day like any other trading day at both the leading bourses, The Stock Exchange, Mumbai (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange (NSE). This is because most of the trading takes place electronically on the computer screen.

Dealers said trades in the call, debt and forex markets will be affected. The Reserve Bank of Indias clearing house operations are also to get affected. I believe that attendance will be thin in office, and early-to- mid-noon trades will be next to nothing.

There will not be much action even after that, a dealer with a foreign bank said. The strike call did cast its shadow on Tuesdays trades with many inter-bank players doing two-day deals.

On the other hand, the stock market community seems to be undeterred by the bandh call. For most brokers it would be work as usual as they would be going to work on Wednesday. Said Jagdish Malkani, a BSE member: I will walk it up to office if the need arises. Work is worship and under no circumstances will I compromise going to work.

Said Sashikant Tulsian, an NSE broker: Since it is a bandh called by a political party which has an aggressive image, things may come to a virtual halt tomorrow. However, I will make all efforts to come to office. I will travel by train, which is the practice I always follow in case of a bandh. And if I get stranded, I will walk it up since the office is not very far from my residence.

Added another broker: Most brokers have modems at home which work as a parallel system. And some of them have also asked their office people to stay back. And although there would be a drop in volumes by 50 per cent tomorrow, we will try and come to work.

Indian Airlines, too, has combined/rescheduled some of its flights on the Mumbai/Bangalore, Mumbai/Chennai, Mumbai/Hyderabad, Mumbai/Delhi, Mumbai/Ahmedabad, Mumbai/Bhavnagar and Mumbai/Goa routes, thus affecting travel.

Among other corporate board meetings, oral-care major Colgate-Palmolive (India) has rescheduled its meeting for the first-quarter results to Tuesday. Pantaloon Industries, too, has postponed its board meeting to the next day, while Deepak Nitrite informed of the change in schedule of its board meeting to July 31.

However, a Mukand Ltd official said it would take stock of the situation on the day of bandh before taking any decision to postpone the board meet for its quarterly results. Other companies like Bombay Dyeing & Manufacturing Co., Indal, VSNL, Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers are going ahead with their board meetings or annual general meetings scheduled for July 30.