The Mint Report for 23 September 2010

The Mint Report for 23 September 2010

The Ayodhya verdict has been postponed. On Thursday the Supreme Court told the Allahabad high court to defer its decision for the moment. A special bench of the Allahabad high court was supposed to announce its judgment on Friday afternoon. The Supreme Court’s decision came after an appeal to stay the verdict. It will now meet on 28 September to hear that appeal. Ayodhya has been tense in anticipation of the judgment, with armed police patrolling the streets. The government also banned public meetings and mass SMS’s sent by mobile phones.

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Airlines in India could be ready to take off again. Industry body Iata says they’ll reduce their losses in 2010 by 76% to about $400 million. The latest projection comes on the back of an increase in both passenger and cargo traffic coupled with steady fuel prices. Announcing the findings in Delhi, Iata’s chief executive, Giovanni Bisignani said domestic traffic in India had soared 20% in the last year. He added that airlines were already starting to expand their fleets to take advantage of the new business. India’s airlines posted total losses of $1.7 billion in 2009 because of the economic downturn and high fuel prices.

Meanwhile Kingfisher Airlines says its plans are on course. Chairman Vijay Mallya said the airline’s plan to issue gross depository receipts was on track. Last month Kingfisher had announced it would raise up to $1 billion to help cut its debt. The airline is estimated to owe a total of about $1.5 billion.

Vedanta is a step closer to acquiring a majority stake in Cairn India. On Thursday ONGC chairman R.S. Sharma said his company had consciously decided not to make a counter-offer. ONGC is a partner of Cairn India and operates its biggest oil asset. It had earlier claimed it Cairn needed its approval to go ahead with the Vedanta deal. For the acquisition to proceed now, it will require approval from the oil ministry and market regulator Sebi.