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!title13.jpg (35182 bytes)The gradual deregulation of POL products trade has opened new vistas for investment. The fast changing market scenario demands from the existing players to revamp their facilities. New entrants are fuelling the competition. While the intense competition is expected to shrink margins, the efforts will be to grab market share from competitors. There are signs that the giants of yesterday are finding it difficult to retain their market share. The Cover Story take into account the existing infrastructure, investments being made by oil marketing companies to upgrade their outlets. All the companies have upgraded their important outlets but a lot more has to be done.

Official quarters are expecting the wheat crop around 18.8 million this year. However the exact size of the crop still remains to be anybody's guess due to persistent drought conditions in the country. Latest data on agriculture indicates lower than targeted growth in most of the major crops during the first half of the fiscal year. Consequently, the government revised downward GDP growth target from 4.5 per cent to 3.8 per cent due to prolonged drought situation in 2000-2001.

The government has announced an increase in the prices of natural gas ranging from 14.39 to 37.39 per cent for domestic, commercial and industrial consumers. The power and transport sectors are the two major consumers of the gas. As a result of increase, the cost of power generation and transportation will go up. Ultimate sufferer would be consumers as every increase in price generally passed on to the consumers.