New Delhi: The government on Thursday said it will not increase the notified prices of coal this year, giving relief to sectors such as steel and power that are battling high input costs. “There is no plan to increase the notified prices of coal this year. Instead, we will enhance our production and reduce operational costs,” minister of state for coal Santosh Bagrodia, said.
The notified prices of coal sold to firms in power, steel and other sectors carry between an average Rs600 and Rs1,600 per tonne, depending on its grade. Bagrodia said the government is taking steps to augment coal production and also utilize non-mineable deposits that are available in plenty.
He said a global tender would be floated shortly to invite potential players for taking up gas beneficiation of non-mineable deposits of hundreds of tonnes in the country. He said the government plans to allow open-cast mining beyond the depth of 300m to extract more coal. On the government’s agenda is also to ensure 100% washing of coal, which is transported beyond the 1,000km stretch by end of the current plan, he added.
Proposals invited for Tilaiya power project
New Delhi: The government will on Saturday invite requests for proposal, or RFP, for the Tilaiya ultra mega power project (UMPP) in Jharkhand, fourth in the series of an ambitious project launched to tide over electricity shortages.
“The RFP for the 4,000MW Tilaiya project would be invited on 31 May,” minister of state for power Jairam Ramesh said. A request for proposal is an invitation to suppliers, often through a bidding process, to submit a proposal on a specific commodity or service. Power Finance Corp. is the nodal agency for implementing the UMPP. In all, 13 of these projects will be implemented, giving the power-starved country an additional 52,000MW. Ten states, including Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat, will draw power from the Tilaiya plant. The power inistry wants work to start on the project this year. PTI
Oil India consortium signs pact in Libya
New Delhi: State-run Oil India Ltd (OIL) and its partners have signed an agreement for four exploration blocks in Libya that are estimated to hold 2 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves. A consortia of OIL, Algeria’s Sonatrach and Indian Oil Corp. Ltd signed the “exploration and production sharing agreement” with the National Oil Corp. of Libya, a company statement said.
The consortium is committed to a minimum work programme of 2,000km of 2D, 2,600 km of 3D and eight exploration wells, at an estimated cost of $152 million (Rs650 crore), it said. PTI
Government to consider 15 SEZ proposals
New Delhi: The government will consider 15 new proposals on 4 June for setting up special economic zones (SEZs), of which 11 are for IT, ITeS and electronic hardware.
The proposals, including those of Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) and Deccan Infrastructure and Land Holdings Ltd, will be taken up by the board of approval (BoA) for SEZ, chaired by commerce secretary G.K. Pillai. Six of the applications relating to different sectors belong to Hyderabad-based Deccan Infrastructure. L&T proposes to set up a 15ha IT zone in Gujarat.
The BoA would also consider conversion to formal approval, the in-principle nod to SEZ proposals of Gremack Infrastructure Equipments and Projects, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation and Essel Infra projects in Maharashtra.
After passage of the new SEZ Act, the government has given formal approval to 428 SEZs despite the finance ministry raising concern over loss of revenue because of tax exemptions to the units in these zones. PTI
Govt to set up panel for Bhopal survivors
New Delhi: India is to set up a panel to help victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas leak, which killed more than 15,000 people, a minister said on Thursday after meeting survivors of the tragedy.
Prithviraj Chavan, minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, also said India would press the US company that owns the former Union Carbide to clean up the site.
The Bhopal disaster occurred when a storage tank at a Union Carbide India pesticide plant spewed deadly cyanide gas into the air, killing more than 3,500 slum dwellers immediately. AFP
SC notice to Sebi on SVPCL’s plea
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has issued notice to market regulator Sebi and others on a petition filed by a stationery manufacturing company, SVPCL Ltd, seeking a stay on the Sebi order, asking it to refund the application money with interest to all 10,000 investors who had applied for its initial public offering (IPO) in October. A vacation bench headed by justice C.K. Thakker while refusing to stay Sebi’s order issued notice to it, the Bombay Stock Exchange and the Hyderabad-based company’s merchant bankers, UTI Securities Ltd.
The issue size of the IPO was Rs34 crore.
Sebi in its 21 May letter had stated that due to dismissal of the appeal by Securities Appellate Tribunal and deemed refusal by the National Stock Exchange, SVPCL’s public issue had become void by virtue of Section 73(1A) of the Companies Act, 1956.
“In terms of provision of the Companies Act and disclosure made by you (SVPCL) in the offer document, you are liable to refund the all application money along with the applicable rate of interest and to confirm compliance of the same by 31 May,” the market regulator had stated. PTI
Delhi HC stays court order on Tata’s licence
New Delhi: The Delhi high court on Thursday stayed a single bench order quashing Tata Steel Ltd’s prospecting licence for mining iron ore in Chhattisgarh on the ground that it had not got environmental clearance. A bench comprising chief justice A.P. Shah and justice S. Muralidhar passed the interim order on a petition filed by Tata Steel challenging the order of single bench which quashed the prospecting licence of the steel major.
With this interim order, the Chhattisgarh government can now process Tata’s application for for mining iron ore. The Chhattisgarh government, which had granted prospecting licence to Tata Steel, also challenged the single bench judgement through its counsel Atul Jha in the high court. PTI
SAT waives Rs25 crore penalty on Holcim
Mumbai: In a major relief to Swiss cement maker Holcim Ltd, the Securities Appellate Tribunal, or SAT, on Thursday waived a Rs25 crore penalty by market regulator Sebi for violating the takeover code in the acquisition of Everest Industries Ltd, or EIL.
On the basis of the facts as alleged in the show-cause notice the violation of Regulation 11 (2A) of the takeover code is not made out. The Sebi order of 25 August 2006 has been set aside, SAT said in its order. Sebi found Holcim guilty of not making proper public announcement in the matter of EIL takeover. With the acquisition of ACC Ltd, Holcim had also acquired 76.01% stake in EIL. PTI
NTPC’s fourth quarter net profit slides 23%
Mumbai: India’s biggest power generator, NTPC Ltd, said fourth quarter net profit fell 23%. Net profit declined to Rs1,340 crore in the three months that ended on 31 March, from Rs1,735 crore a year earlier, the utility said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange on Thursday. That beat the Rs1,050 crore calculated by ‘Bloomberg’ by subtracting nine-month profit from full-year provisional earnings released by the utility last month. Revenue rose 20% to Rs11,490 crore from Rs9,550 crore. Bloomberg
Orchid Chemicals Q4 net down by 36%
New Delhi: Drug firm Orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Ltd on Thursday reported a stand-alone net profit of Rs15.85 crore in the quarter ended on 31 March, a decline of 36.07% over the year-ago period. The company has reported a stand-alone net profit of Rs24.7 crore in the quarter ended on 31 March 2007, Orchid said in a statement. The total turnover of the company for fourth quarter of 2007-08 fiscal rose to Rs379 crore, an increase of 56% compared with the same period a year ago. Orchid has reported a turnover of around Rs243 crore in the fourth quarter of 2006-07 fiscal. It reported a consolidated net profit Rs174.34 crore in the financial year ended on 31 March, compared with Rs78.55 crore in the previous financial year. PTI
Govt, RBI against monthly inflation data
New Delhi: The finance ministry and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have reservations on the computation of inflation data on a monthly basis, a senior government official said on Thursday. “Everybody from the committee (on new WPI series) has supported moving to a monthly data, except for the finance ministry and RBI, which want it on a weekly basis,” ministry of statistics and programme implementation secretary Pronab Sen said. Finance minister P. Chidambaram will have to meet RBI to reach a consensus on the committee’s suggestions to have a new series of WPI on a monthly basis, he said on the sidelines of a function to release the results of the fifth Economic Census. PTI
Job generation rises 2.78% in 1998-2005
New Delhi: Employment generation in the country has increased considerably in the eight-year period ending 2005 compared with 1990-98, shows the Economic Census released by the government on Thursday.
Employment grew at the rate of 2.78% in 1998-2005, which is much higher than the 1.75% recorded during 1990-98, the fifth Economic Census report said.
The report, compiled by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO), said that Jammu and Kashmir emerged as the state with maximum employment growth of 6.82% followed by Andhra Pradesh (5.87%), Kerala (5.86%) and Haryana (5.35%). The report further said, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh were the two main employment providing states followed by Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.
Andhra Pradesh provided maximum employment in the rural areas (13.14% of the total rural employment), followed by West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Maharashtra.
Among the urban employment providers, Maharashtra topped the list providing the maximum employment at 14.10% of total urban employment. Referring to the non-agricultural activities, the report observed that such activities in the rural areas were more compared to urban areas, evident by the fact that number of non-agricultural establishments in rural areas was 19.83 million as against 15.92 million in the urban areas. PTI
Retail rentals in National Capital Region up 16%
New Delhi: Retail space rentals in the national capital region have shot up to 16% during the first quarter of 2008 and are likely to be under pressure in the coming days too despite an expected supply of about 4 million sq. ft in the second quarter, predicts a latest report. According to a study by global real estate consultant Cushman and Wakefield, Gurgaon witnessed an appreciation of 16% in rental values over the last quarter. “Buoyant demand coupled with lack of quality space in prominent malls across Delhi and Gurgaon has resulted in an appreciation of rental values in the region,” the report said. PTI
Sebi simplifies FII registration norms
Mumbai: Stock market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India, or Sebi, on Thursday amended the Sebi (Foreign Institutional Investors) Regulations, 1995, for easier registration of foreign institutional investors or FIIs and sub-accounts. According to the new norms, FIIs can invest in collective investment schemes. In collective investment scheme, investor contributions are pooled and utilised to generate profits or income. Asset management companies or AMCs and investment advisors, owned by non-resident Indians or NRIs, can now register as FIIs. Besides, NRIs who have not invested in proprietary funds can also register as FIIs. Khushboo Narayan
OECD boosts price outlook for grains
Paris/London: Wheat and corn prices may be as much as 26% higher in a decade than was predicted last year because of increasing demand for food and biofuels, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said.
Wheat is likely to cost $231.60 (Rs9,912) a tonne in 2016-2017 and coarse grains such as corn may be at $166.60 a tonne, OECD said in a report produced with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. They predicted prices of $183.20 and $138.20 in their report a year ago. Bloomberg
Pranab to visit China for trade, border talks
New Delhi: External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee will fly to China next month for talks on boosting trade and to review an unresolved border row that took the countries to war in 1962, officials said on Thursday.
His ministry said that during his four-day trip beginning 4 June, Mukherjee will hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi and other Chinese leaders.
“He will have discussions...on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of mutual interest” with Yang, the ministry of external affairs said in a statement. AFP