Mumbai: With the Tamil Nadu cabinet clearing the project, Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T) will move ahead to set up a Rs3,000 crore new shipyard-cum-port project at Kattupalli in Thiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu as a special economic zone (SEZ). The planned port will also have a facility to handle container cargo, say company officials who did not wish to be identified.

The state government’s approval came nearly 16 months after L&T had first submitted a formal proposal to the state in September 2006. A L&T spokesperson declined to comment.

Gaining ground: L&T MD and chairman A.M.Naik. (Ashesh Shah/ Mint)

The cabinet clearance will pave the way for L&T to sign a memorandum of understanding with the state government to set up the project through a joint venture with the state-owned Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corp. Ltd (Tidco). L&T will hold close to 98% stake in the joint venture.

The cabinet approval will also allow L&T to acquire about 1,200 acres of land from Tidco to set up the project. Once the land is in its possession, L&T will submit a proposal to the Union commerce ministry to develop the project as a SEZ that will build cargo ships, warships, offshore oil rigs and other heavy engineering products.

L&T plans to start construction work on the project after the SEZ is notified. The commerce ministry’s decision on the SEZ is expected within two months of L&T submitting the application. L&T is currently negotiating shipbuilding orders worth $1-2 billion (Rs3,930-7,860 crore) with global shipowners.

The proposed shipyard at Kattupalli will be capable of building 25 ships a year and repair 50-60 ships annually.

When fully operational, the shipyard-cum-port project is likely to employ close to 10,000.

L&T plans to begin building ships by end-2009 and deliver the first ship 12-14 months later. Mint had first reported on 4 July that L&T had picked Kattupalli for the SEZ project.


Mt Everest conqueror Sir Ed Hillary dead at 88

Wellington, New Zealand:Sir Edmund Hillary, the unassuming beekeeper who conquered Mount Everest to win renown as one of the 20th century’s greatest adventurers, died on Friday, New Zealand’s prime minister announced. He was 88.

The gangling New Zealander devoted much of his life to aiding the mountain people of Nepal and took his fame in stride, preferring to be called “Ed" and considering himself just an ordinary man.

“Sir Ed described himself as an average New Zealander with modest abilities," Prime Minister Helen Clark said in a statement on Friday. “In reality, he was a colossus. He was a heroic figure who not only ‘knocked off’ Everest but lived a life of determination, humility, and generosity."

Sir Edmund Hillary, who with Tenzing Norgay, his Sherpa guide, won worldwide acclaim in 1953 by becoming the first to scale the 29,035-foot summit of Mount Everest. Norgay died in 1986.


Videocon to start mobile services by year-end

New Delhi: Consumer electronics company Videocon Industries Ltd said it will roll out its mobile services by the end of this year and is expecting 10 million subscribers in three-four years of the launch. Videocon is also planning to rope in a global service provider as the partner at an appropriate time, the company said in a statement.

Videocon’s subsidiary, Datacom, had on Thursday received a letter of intent from the department of telecom (DoT) for starting GSM-based mobile services on a pan-India basis. Datacom has deposited Rs1,507 crore as licence fees along with bank guarantee for Rs847 crore to DoT.


Nasscom and ICICI to invest in ‘stage zero’ cos

Mumbai: The National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) and ICICI Bank Ltd have joined hands to launch a Rs100 crore fund that will invest in early-stage companies. The Nasscom-ICICI knowledge park innovation fund has already raised Rs10 crore from ICICI knowledge park and Rs5 crore each from Bharti Airtel Ltd and Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. The seed fund will invest Rs1-10 crore in the most nascent of companies in sectors such as wireless technologies, automotive infotronics, life sciences, energy conservation technologies and devices, and medical devices. The fund is expected to be fully operational in three months and will have a maximum of 8-10 institutional investors. There will be additional rounds of fundraising to bring in another Rs150-200 crore later. Nachiket Mor, president of ICICI Foundation, said that this type of investment requires truly “patient investors".

-Rana Rosen

DP World set to drag Adani Group to SC

Mumbai: Dubai government-owned DP World, the world’s fourth biggest port operator, is set to approach India’s Supreme Court to prevent Adani Group from terminating a contract signed by the two firms in May 2003 to operate a container terminal at Mundra Port in Gujarat for 28 years. On 7 January, the Gujarat high court ruled that a writ petition filed by DP World is “not maintainable".

Mundra International Container Terminal, had filed a petition in the Gujarat high court in December, seeking a stay on the 8 November termination notice issued by Adani Group-promoted Mundra Port and special economic zone.

Through the notice, the Adani Group had moved to terminate the contract with DP World and start discussions on transferring the assets within three weeks.

-P. Manoj

Opposition against Bilcare patent dismissed

Mumbai: Mumbai patent office has penalized ACG Worldwide, a leading pharmaceutical packaging company and another Mumbai-based firm, Amartara Ltd, for irrelevant opposition against a patent granted to the Pune-based Bilcare Ltd.

The development follows the dismissal of the post-grant opposition by these two firms, said Praful Naik, chief scientific officer, Bilcare.

In a 7 January judgement, the controller of patents in Mumbai upheld Bilcare’s patent on metallized packaging films. Dismissing the opposition petition, the patent office said the opponents shall pay the cost of litigation for unsubstantiated opposition.

Bilcare was granted the patent for invention related to a multi-layer thermoformable, translucent PVC film with metallization to provide distinctive features for identity as well as effective anti-counterfeit solution.

-Staff Writer

PM for effective action on forest dwellers Act

New Delhi: After the government notified one of the most controversial legislations—the Scheduled Tribes and Traditional Forest Dwellers Act, 2006— the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday urged all states to have effective implementation of the Act.

“The responsibility for implementation vests with the state governments, which are required to constitute committees under the Act that would process the cases and ensure distribution of land rights," said Singh in a letter to all chief ministers.

The new law gives tribes and traditional forest dwellers rights over land they have been occupying for years, but their rights have not been recorded.

-Padmaparna Ghosh