New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday allowed French firm Lafarge to continue mining operations for extracting limestone in Meghalaya that is used for making cement at the company’s manufacturing plant in Bangladesh.
Lafarge had challenged the Union ministry of environment and forests order issued in May asking the company to stop work at quarries on the premise that mining is not permitted in forest areas. Lafarge had also wanted to transport 6 lakh tonne of limestone, a key input for making cement, from its mines in Meghalaya to its cement plant in Bangladesh.
A special bench headed by chief justice K.G. Balakrishnan in an interim order allowed the firm’s plea. Lafarge had argued the ministry’s order would put an end to supply of raw materials to its $255 million (Rs1,009 crore) cement project in Bangladesh, because it was fully dependent on limestone extracted from East Khasi Hills in Meghalaya.
FDI proposals worth Rs511 crore cleared
New Delhi: The government on Friday approved 22 foreign direct investment (FDI) proposals entailing an inflow of Rs511.5 crore, including that of World Bank’s private sector arm International Finance Corp. (IFC) and global private equity player Goldman Sachs.
IFC will take up 18% stake in domestic stocks and commodities brokerage firm Angel Infin Pvt. Ltd for Rs152 crore. US-based Goldman Sachs and Australia’s Macquarie will pick 40% stake in PTC India Financial Services Ltd, a non-banking financial arm of power trading firm PTC India Ltd, for Rs155.74 crore. The proposals were cleared by finance minister P. Chidambaram on Friday, an official statement said.
However, a proposal of Flemingo to open duty free shops outside airports and in hotels was rejected.
A proposal of leading retailer Dolce & Gabbana to set up a joint venture for single brand retailing of fashion and lifestyle products was put on hold.
Nokia Siemens says no to BSNL tender
New Delhi: State-run telecom company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd’s (BSNL) plan to expand the GSM network faced a new hurdle with telecom equipment maker Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) refusing to accept its share of the 22.5 million lines contract.
Negotiations are still on, BSNL chairman and managing director Kuldip Goyal said, adding that price difference was the main reason for NSN not accepting the order.
LM Ericsson Telephone Co. was awarded 60% of the contract and NSN, being the second lowest bidder, was given the rest. Ericsson had quoted about $107 (Rs4,237) per line, while the NSN quote was about $167.
“We are exploring three alternatives—award of the whole contract to Ericsson, talking to BSNL’s existing vendors for add-on capacity and finally floating a fresh tender,” Goyal said. The final decision on the contract is expected to be taken within a month, he said.
Sebi chief cautions Asian markets
New Delhi: Securities & Exchange Board of India (Sebi) chairman M. Damodaran on Friday cautioned Asian economies about the possibility of volatility in their markets due to decisions of “certain categories of investors from matured markets”.
“There are certain categories of investors from the matured markets, where returns are not as good as in the past... So, for greener pastures, they have landed in our backyards because our markets give them good returns... They will abandon our markets if they (markets) don’t give them good returns... This will lead to volatility in our markets,” he said.
India wraps up initial talks with IAEA
Vienna: Indian negotiators on Friday wrapped up their first round of talks on a nuclear safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), with a message from the government that the discussions should be completed “as soon as possible”. The safeguards pact is needed to implement the India-US civil nuclear cooperation deal. “The next round of talks is expected to take place soon. The three-day negotiations were purely technical,” said Sheel Kant Sharma, Indian ambassador and governor on the IAEA board.