Monday, March 26, 2012

Ponzi Scheme..?? - An article by Economic Times...

There is an article published by Economic Times on Emu... The article could have been deeper, however, this article has raised a concern over whether the Emu Schemes are moving..

The link is below:

(Thanks to Economic Times):

Investment scam: Cases of circular trading of Aussie bird emus rising in Tamil Nadu

Sangeetha Kandavel, ET Bureau Mar 20, 2012, 12.46AM IST
CHENNAI: In Tamil Nadu, a highly literate and industrialised state with a propensity to fall for ponzi schemes, one more investment scam seems to be brewing. This time it centres around the emu, a large, flightless bird native to Australia and reputed to have as many uses as the wonder drug aspirin.
Across the southern state, indications are that there is a steady build-up of what is essentially circular trading of emus, something that is usually a precursor to an eventual collapse. Advertisements on television, Internet and pamphlets are touting the bird as the ultimate in investment.

Among those who fell for the spiel is Arjun, a 30-year-old software engineer from Chennai who bought 10 pairs of chicks investing Rs 2 lakh. He got his money back in two years, but now says there is something fishy about the whole scheme. "If everyone is selling the bird not to the end consumer but to people who are getting into farming, it doesn't sound good," he says.

Investment schemes for emus look remarkably similar to the ponzi rackets that have operated in the past. For an initial investment of, say, Rs 2 lakh for 20 pairs of chicks, an investor is promised total income of Rs 6.5 lakh in five years-essentially a tripleyour-money scheme. All an investor is supposed to do is return the 20 pairs to the company promoting the scheme every year and take a new set.

Emu farming is supposed to have debuted in India in the mid-1990s after emu slaughtering was banned in its home in Australia. Now, those in the business say there are 3,000 farms in the country, largely in Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Maharashtra, Kerala and Gujarat.

It is in the past two years that the hype has grown. Afarm owner near the hill station of Kodaikanal boasted that he has sold over 1.5 lakh emus so far. No order below 25 pairs of chicks is worth his while and payment has to be upfront.

Doubts Over Mkt's Existence

Among those contributing to the buzz is Susi Emu Farms in Perundurai, near Erode, which calls itself one of the largest emu farms in India. Its sales pitch is that "it fulfils dreams of people who are in search of projects providing quick profits on investments in this competitive world".

For Senthil, who relishes quick profits, emus are just what he was looking for. Recently, he paid Rs 1.2 lakh for five pairs of chicks from a farm just outside Chennai. In two years, he believes, each emu will be worth Rs 45,000.

Emus can grow to be as tall as humans and weigh up to 60 kg. Related to ostriches, they can live for 40 years and are fertile for half that period. Those peddling emus say it is a golden goose-its meat, eggs, feathers, toenails, skin and even oil are all valuable.

While software engineers and farmers alike are being lured to emu schemes, they are not asking if there is a real market for emu products. Such concerns have arisen once in a while but formal complaints have not been made. VK Shanmugam, the collector of Erode district, says the emu business is a matter of "serious concern" but since there are no complaints, no action can be taken.
Shanmugam says he is also intrigued by the fact that he doesn't see any of the birds though people seem to be investing in them. "I hear that people are depositing money but are not able to get receipts for that," he says.

The administration recently had a meeting with top police officials about the emu problem. Tamil Nadu has a rich history of ponzi schemes. Among the more notable ones is the collapse in 1998 of the Anubhav group which duped investors who put money in a teak plantation scheme of around Rs 400 crore.

Last year, a PTI report said the Maharashtra government ordered a CID inquiry into a likely Rs 200-crore emu farming scam in Nashik district.

The controversial scheme, run by a private company, involved a promise to triple investment in 45 days. Farm owners in Tamil Nadu estimate the number of emus in the state at around five lakh, or one bird for every 130 people in Tamil Nadu. Sceptics such as Shanmugam, however, don't buy that number.

V Rajapandi, the general secretary of the Tamil Nadu Emu Association, said to be registered under the Societies Act and having 300 members, defends his business.

He says emu farming is a genuine business "if you do it in the right manner." "It has a huge market. Just because a handful of people say so, you cannot say the business is a ponzi scheme," he adds. 

(Thanks to: The Economic Times)

1 comment:

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