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India committed to building nuclear power plants: PM

India committed to building nuclear power plants: PM
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First Published: Tue, Mar 25 2008. 12 10 AM IST
New Delhi: India is committed to developing atomic power to meet the nation’s rising demand for electricity, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said.
“Our government is committed to further development of nuclear energy, both as an energy-friendly source of power and a means of widening the energy basket available to us,” Singh said.
India, which hasn’t signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, is in talks with the US, Russia, France and other countries to get access to atomic material and technology that it was denied after first conducting nuclear tests in 1974. External affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee is in the US to discuss a stalled nuclear energy agreement between the two countries.
“With our economy growing at 8-9% per annum, with growing urbanization and rising prosperity, the demand for electricity is outpacing existing sources of supply,” Singh said while laying the foundation stone for a 1,500MW plant in New Delhi. “Our strategy for energy security is a multipronged strategy. We don’t have the luxury of depending on only one or two sources.”
The government will seek “broad political consensus” on pushing forward civilian nuclear cooperation with the US and other nations, Mukherjee said in Parliament on 3 March.
Cooperation with other countries will “end the unfair technology denial regimes and sanctions that India has been faced with for over three decades,” Mukherjee said.
India is pursuing a separate nuclear agreement with Russia.
The 2005 nuclear deal with the US is opposed by the government’s Communist allies, who say the accord will weaken the nation’s independent foreign policy and compromise scientific capability.
During peak hours, India’s electricity supply falls 14.8% short of demand, compared with 13% estimated previously, as per the annual economic survey prepared by finance minister P. Chidambaram’s advisers that was released on 28 February.
Dhoni to pitch Big Bazaar as a fashion destination
New Delhi: Future Group has hired India’s cricketing icon Mahendra Singh Dhoni, as brand ambassador to pitch the retailer’s Big Bazaar hypermarkets as a fashion destination, as it taps into the cricketing frenzy that continues to grab the nation.
The sign-up comes just before the Indian Premier League matches, or privately owned league matches, get under way next month.
Future Group will pay Dhoni Rs11 crore for a three-year contract, according to Arun Pandey, the cricketer’s agent.
Future Group will bombard airwaves with spots featuring Dhoni during the second Test match between India and South Africa that is scheduled to be held between 3 and 7 April, according to another person close to the situation who asked not to be identified because it’s ahead of an announcement.
“He has a good youth appeal and it (the campaign) is targeted towards the youth of India,” the person said. “The idea is to create Big Bazaar as a fashion destination.”
The campaign will be dubbed as “Fashion at Big Bazaar” and the company plans to spend about Rs30 crore in a year’s time on the marketing campaign, the person said.
Last year, Future’s chief executive Kishore Biyani said the group plans to spend up to Rs140 crore in cricket-related marketing events and advertising in the next three years as the company is among the hordes of Indian and foreign firms trying to cash in on India’s most popular sport.
Future Group is also the title sponsor of the upcoming India-South Africa series and the championship will be called Future Cup. Rasul Bailay
Competitive bidding for coal blocks allotment
New Delhi: Allotments of coal blocks for the power and steel sector will be done through international competitive bidding, said H.C. Gupta, secretary, ministry of coal, at the second meeting of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) national committee on mining.
As of date, 180 coal blocks with reserves of 40 billion tonnes have been allotted to private sector companies in power and steel sector. However, these blocks are only for the captive use and not for commercial mining. Gupta also stressed that underground coal mining will be given more importance during the 11th Plan period. Udit Misra
VMware to invest $100 million in India ops
Bangalore:VMware Inc., which dominates the global virtualization solutions’ market, is investing $100 million (Rs403.4 crore) in expanding its research and development (R&D) operations in India over next two years.
Virtualization refers to the technology that allows multiple operating systems and applications to run on the same hardware thereby eliminating the need for different computers to run on different servers.
VMware president and CEO Diane Greene said her firm would more than double the R&D team to over 1,000 engineers. Staff Writer
Tata Motors, Ford final deal imminent
Mumbai:Tata Motors Ltd and Ford Motor Co., the owner of the iconic Jaguar and Land Rover brands, are close to a final deal, say people familiar with the matter, with formal confirmation coming as early as Wednesday.
The two managements have had conference calls last week with talks expected to resume on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Tata Motors is finalizing its financing options. State Bank of India, lead managers for Tata Motors, will raise $3 billion (Rs11,962.5 crore) to fund the acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover.
The deal comes as a shot in the arm for the country’s largest bank, which was not significantly involved in the earlier Tata-Corus deal.
Citibank NA, Standard Chartered, BNP Paribas SA, JPMorgan Chase and Co., Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ and Mizuho Financial Group are the other banks that will pool resources. Suprotip Ghosh/HINDUSTAN TIMES
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First Published: Tue, Mar 25 2008. 12 10 AM IST