India country brief 101230 Basic Political Developments

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INDIA COUNTRY BRIEF

101230

Basic Political Developments





  • Demanding loan waiver for small and marginal farmers hit by unseasonal rain, an Orissa Congress MP Pradip Majhi today launched a hunger-strike near the state secretariat today with his supporters.




  • The Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal today allocated the maximum share of water to Andhra Pradesh while also enhancing the share of Karnataka and Maharashtra.




  • Home Minister P Chidambaram invited West Bengal Chief Minister today for a meet in Delhi.




  • Security was tightened in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday as the Srikrishna Committee on the Telangana issue is all set to submit its report to the central government.




  • Former Congress MP Y S Jaganmohan Reddy today demanded a "better package" for those whose crops have been damaged in recent floods.




  • Srikrishna Committee on Telangana state on Thursday, submitted its report to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.



National Economic Trends





  • The government today approved the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for 60 selected tribal and backward districts.




  • Food inflation surged to a 10-week high of 14.44 per cent for the week ended December 18.




  • The growth of six infrastructure industries slowed to 2.3 per cent in November.

Business, Energy or Environmental regulations or discussions




  • The Tiruchirapalli-based Rs.1,046 crore boiler manufacturer Cethar Vessels Ltd has received USD 90 million from private equity fund Baring Private Equity Partners India for an unspecified percentage stake.




  • Steel Strips Wheels Ltd. Thursday said that it has commenced production and supply of wheel rims to Tata Motors from its recently established facility in Jamshedpur.




  • Citibank is likely to face a blow on its bottomline during the current financial year on account of the Rs 300-350 crore fraud at its Gurgaon branch.




  • Punjab National Bank (PNB) said it has invited expression of interest (EoI) from Indian and foreign companies for strategic partnerships in insurance business.




  • Container train operator Gateway Rail Freight Limited will infuse Rs 25 crore to boost its container handling capacities, even as the logistic provider aims to clock total business volume of Rs 1,500 crore in 2010-11.




  • Powergear Ltd has proposed a Rs 150 crore "greenfield project" with an European partner for making its formal foray into the renewable energy sector.




  • Kingfisher Airlines has completed its Rs 8000 crore debt recast. All the 18 lenders of Kingfisher Airlines have approved & implemented the debt restructuring package.




  • HCL Infosystems today said it will pick up a 20 per cent stake in Dubai-based Techmart Telecom Distribution, the distributor for Nokia smartphones in the Middle East and Africa region.


  • French retail giant Carrefour today announced its entry into the Indian market by opening its first cash and carry store for wholesale distribution.



Activity in the Oil and Gas sector (including regulatory)





  • Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has hired an ultra-deepwater drilling rig from New York Stock Exchange-listed Vantage Drilling Company for USD 1.1 billion for five years.




  • Arab Petroleum Investment Corporation (Apicorp) will sell its 12% stake in Egypt-based Alexandria Carbon Black Company (ACBC) to Aditya Birla Group, the majority shareholder in the company.


Militant Activity/Terrorism (Particularly in Bangalore, Mumbai, Noida, Chennai, Coimbatore)





  • The banned ULFA 'chairman' Arabinda Rajkhowa was today granted bail and is likely to be released from jail tomorrow.




  • Shaukat Hussain Guru, a convict in the Parliament attack case, was released from Tihar Jail in Delhi on Wednesday.




  • A special court on Thursday rejected the bail pleas of three accused including Lt. Col Prasad Purohit, arrested in the September 2008 Malegaon blast case.



Labor/Social Unrest





  • Uttar Pradesh government has invoked Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to ban strikes in all the medical institutions of the state for the next six months.



  • A 24-hour Assam bandh called by the AKRSU in support of their demand for a separate Kamatapur state evoked partial response today.





  • The rail blockade by Gujjars on the busy Delhi-Mumbai route at Pillupura continued on the 11th day today amid hope for talks resuming between the community and the state Government later in the day.



Full Text

Basic Political Developments



Cong MP on hunger-strike seeking loan waiver for farmers

http://www.ptinews.com/news/1230242_Cong-MP-on-hunger-strike-seeking-loan-waiver-for-farmers

Bhubaneswar, Dec 30 (PTI) Demanding loan waiver for small and marginal farmers hit by unseasonal rain, an Orissa Congress MP Pradip Majhi today launched a hunger-strike near the state secretariat here today with his supporters.


"The government must announce loan waiver upto Rs 50,000 as the unseasonal rain has broken the economic backbone of small and marginal farmers," Majhi, who is also the Youth Congress president, said.
He said he would continue the hunger-strike till the demands were fulfilled.
Terming the BJD government as anti-farmer, Majhi accused Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of not presenting the real picture on the extent of damage suffered by farmers during harvest before the Centre.
He claimed that 16 farmers had committed suicide within a month in the state due to crop loss and demanded Rs 10 lakh as ex-gratia to each such peasant families.
Andhra gets maximum share in Krishna water dispute

http://www.ptinews.com/news/1230056_Andhra-gets-maximum-share-in-Krishna-water-dispute

New Delhi, Dec 30 (PTI) Making a final decision on dividing the surplus water of River Krishna, the Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal today allocated the maximum share of water to Andhra Pradesh while also enhancing the share of Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Now, Andhra Pradesh will get 1,001 TMC, Karnataka 911 TMC and Maharashtra 666 TMC of water from the river. Earlier allocation was 811 TMC for Andhra PRadesh, 734 TMC for Karnataka and 585 TMC for Maharashtra.
The Tribunal headed by Justice Brijesh Kumar also allowed more water to be stored in the Almati Dam in Karnataka. With this order, 524 metres of the dam height could be used to store the Krishna water from its earlier 519 metre.
The Centre will set up the Krishna Water Implementation Board after three months for implementation of the award.
Chidambaram invites Buddhadeb for talks

http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/other-states/article1018270.ece?homepage=true

A day after West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee slammed Home Minister P Chidambaram’s assessment of the law and order situation in the state as “far from an impartial overview”, the latter today invited him for a meet in Delhi.


Mr. Chidambaram dispatched two letters today addressing Mr. Bhattacharjee, as a reply to the Chief Minister’s December 28 communication.
“Both letters have been faxed as well as sent by speed post,” a Home Ministry statement said.
“The Home Minister has invited the Chief Minister of West Bengal to Delhi at his earliest convenience to discuss the subject and agree upon the way forward,” the statement said.
Mr. Bhattacharjee, in a strongly-worded reply to Mr. Chidambaram’s letter last week, had taken strong exception to use of the word ‘harmad’ (hired killers) in the communication while asking the Left Front government to disarm CPI(M) cadres.
“Your assessment of the situation in the State is surprising and is far from an impartial overview of the situation,” he had said.

The Chief Minister had sarcastically described the Home Minister’s letter sent on December 21 as ‘secret’ after he and the CPI(M) took umbrage at the apparent leak of its contents before it could reach him. He said the letter was received on Monday.

Mr. Chidambaram’s earlier letter had asked the State government to disarm CPI(M) cadres. He had questioned the West Bengal government on its use of central forces in the State, saying the killing of activists of political parties point to a “virtual collapse” of law and order there.
Admitting that it was not a happy situation, Mr. Bhattacharjee had said, “I am trying to disarm and demobilise all armed groups engaged in violence in some pockets in the State.”
Srikrishna Committee Report: Security tightened in Andhra Pradesh

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/srikrishna-committee-report-security-tightened-in-andhra-pradesh/articleshow/7190175.cms

HYDERABAD: Security was tightened in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday as the Srikrishna Committee on the Telangana issue is all set to submit its report to the central government.


Fifty companies of central paramilitary forces have been deployed in addition to the state police forces across the state, especially in the Telangana region.
As the five-member Srikrishna Committee, which looked into the demands for and against separate statehood to Telangana, has sought an appointment with union Home Minister P. Chidambaram to submit its report, the police in the state went on alert.
Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy reviewed the law and order situation with state Home Minister P. Sabita Indra Reddy, Director General of Police Aravinda Rao and other senior officials.
The chief minister asked the police chief to take all precautionary measures to maintain peace and law and order. A police official said they were not taking any chances in view of the violent incidents of last year.

As many as 25 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF) and the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) have been deployed in and around Hyderabad.

Since the violent incidents late last year and early this year had affected the Information Technology sector and created fears among people from Andhra and Rayalaseema settled in Hyderabad, the authorities beefed up the security here.
While 18 companies are deployed in Hyderabad to tackle any protests after the report is made public, five companies will provide security in Cyberabad, the IT district housing many global and national giants. Two more companies will be on standby at the office of the DGP.
Hyderabad is one of the 10 districts of Telangana. The authorities had deployed two companies each in seven other districts of the region.
The remaining para-military forces were deployed in Andhra and Rayalseema regions. Two companies were deployed in Visakhapatnam rural, and one each in Anantapur, Tirupati, Visakhapatnam city, Vijayawada and Guntur.
As Osmania University in Hyderabad was the nerve centre of the agitation for Telangana state late last year and early this year, bulk of the forces in Hyderabad were stationed at Amberpet Central Police Lines to deal with any student unrest.
The central government has asked the media to exercise restraint in telecasting stories relating to the Srikrishna Committee report . The information and broadcasting ministry has urged the media not to carry speculative stories which may cause untoward incidents.
The National Broadcasters Association (NBA) has issued guidelines for the television channels and cable operators in Andhra Pradesh.

Jagan demands better package for farmers in AP

http://www.ptinews.com/news/1230731_Jagan-demands-better-package-for-farmers-in-AP

New Delhi, Dec 30 (PTI) Claiming that the relief announced by the Centre for calamity-hit farmers in Andhra Pradesh is not enough, former Congress MP Y S Jaganmohan Reddy today demanded a "better package" for those whose crops have been damaged in recent floods.

Reddy, who quit Congress as well as Lok Sabha on November 29, met Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar here and demanded government announce an immediate relief of Rs 5,000 to each and every farmer in the state.
He also claimed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh did not respond to the farmers' letter seeking an appointment with him to explain in detail their plight.
"We explained to Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar about the situation in the state. He gave us a patient hearing. He also promised us that the Centre will come out with a package for the ryots by tomorrow," he said after the meeting.
Srikrishna Committee submits Telangana report to Chidambaram

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/srikrishna-committee-submits-telangana-report-to-chidambaram/articleshow/7190372.cms

NEW DELHI: The five-member Justice Srikrishna Committee, which went into the demand for a Telangana state, on Thursday, submitted its report to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram.


The report will be made public on January 6, 2011.
Addressing the media, Chidambaram said: "I propose to convene a meeting of eight recognised political parties of Andhra Pradesh on January 6."
"Immediately after the meeting, the report will be made public," he added
Meanwhile, in Andhra Pradesh, huge security has been organized to prevent violent reactions to the report. The centre has sent thousands of security personnel to help the state government.
On Wednesday, the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh , presided over an emergency meeting of the Union Cabinet to review the Telangana state issue and security in Andhra Pradesh ahead of the submission of the report.

Union Home Minister P Chidambaram , Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee , Defence Minister AK Antony and Law Minister M Veerappa Moily were among those who attended the meeting.

Earlier, the committee had said it would give "several options with their pros and cons" in its report that will seek to achieve the highest satisfaction of the largest number.
Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, committee chairman and former Supreme Court judge justice B N Srikrishna hoped that the report would offer a solution to the divisive demands for the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
He also expressed the hope that all political parties in the state will accept the report and maintain peace and harmony after the report is submitted.
"I hope peace prevails in the state after the report is submitted. It is the responsibility of the politicians and the media," he said.
The seven-point term of reference announced by the Union government on February 12 has mandated the Justice Srikrishna Committee to "examine the situation in Andhra Pradesh with reference to the demand for a separate state of Telangana as well as the demand for maintaining the present status of united Andhra".
The government constituted the committee on February 3, nearly two months after it had announced that steps have been initiated for the formation of a separate state of Telangana.
The Telangana region is spread over 10 northern districts of Andhra Pradesh.

National Economic Trends



Govt approves plan for 60 backward districts

http://www.ptinews.com/news/1230747_Govt-approves-plan-for-60-backward-districts-

New Delhi, Dec 30 (PTI) The government today approved the Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for 60 selected tribal and backward districts across nine states for development of public infrastructure and services like school building, primary health centers, roads and electric lights.

"The government has approved IAP for 60 selected tribal and backward districts for development of public infrastructure," an official statement said.
It said that the scheme would be an additional central assistance (ACA) on a 100 per cent grant basis.
To begin with, IAP is proposed to be implemented with a block grant of Rs 25 crore and Rs 30 crore per district during 2010-11 and 2011-12, respectively.
Under the IAP, 15 districts would be covered in Orissa, followed by 14 tribal districts in Jharkhand and 10 districts of Chhattisgarh.
Besides, the scheme would also cover eight districts of Madhya Pradesh and seven in Bihar.
Costly onion pushes food inflation to 10-week high of 14.44%

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/indicators/costly-onion-pushes-food-inflation-to-10-week-high-of-1444/articleshow/7190198.cms

NEW DELHI: Food inflation surged to a 10-week high of 14.44 per cent for the week ended December 18 as prices of vegetables, particularly onions, fruits and protein-based products, continued to escalate.


Food inflation stood at 12.13 per cent in the previous week. This is the fifth consecutive week when the rate of price rise of food items has increased.
However, food inflation is still far below the level of 21.19 per cent seen during the same week last year.
On an annual basis, onions became costlier by 39.66 per cent, whereas on a week-on-week basis, the increase was 3.49 per cent, government data released here shows.

The rate of price rise of vegetables was 29.26 per cent on an annual basis, while on a weekly basis, it was 4.58 per cent.

Fruits became 21.97 per cent more expensive, while milk grew 17.75 per cent costlier on a year-on-year basis during the week under review.
Similarly, egg, meat and fish prices rose by 20.34 per cent on an annual basis.
Overall, the price of cereal declined marginally by 0.70 per cent year-on-year, while pulses fell by 10.79 per cent.
The price of rice went up marginally year-on-year, while wheat declined by 5.51 per cent.
On a weekly basis, however, the price of most items -- barring vegetables -- moved in a narrow range.
A good monsoon and prospects of a bountiful kharif harvest had prompted the government to exude confidence about a decline in food inflation.
However, after moderating for a few weeks in November, resurgent inflationary pressure has made all the government's calculations go haywire.
Unseasonal rainfall in Maharashtra, which resulted in damage to onion crops, saw prices of the staple vegetable soar by over Rs 80 per kg in mid-December. This prompted the government to ban exports of the product and also remove import duty to increase availability in the domestic market.
High food inflation could prompt the Reserve Bank to hike key short-term rates at its policy review next month.
"Inflation is not easing as we would like it to be... Upside risks to inflation are still high," he had said.
Overall inflation for November was at 7.48 per cent, down from 8.58 per cent in the previous month.
Experts have said that the rise in food inflation is likely to have repercussions on the final WPI inflation figures for December.

Both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee have expressed major concern over the high price line and have assured people that the annual inflation rate will fall to around 5 percent by the end of this fiscal.

Tuesday saw the empowered group of ministers on prices headed by Mukherjee extend the ban on export of pulses indefinitely, and decide to release additional five million tonnes of wheat and rice to be sold through state-run fair price shops.
Earlier this month, the central bank, in its mid-quarter review of its monetary policy, kept almost all rates intact, but lowered the amount banks have to retain in the form of bonds, gold and cash to ease liquidity in the system.
The move indicated that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was expecting the inflation rate to temper and wanted to make more credit available to industry to ensure that growth does not suffer for want of funds.
But with inflation back in double-digit levels, RBI Deputy Governor Subir Gokarn has hinted at some tightening of monetary policy. "Inflation is not easing as we would like it to be. Upside risks are still high," he said.
Core sector growth slows to 2.3 pc in November

http://www.ptinews.com/news/1230419_Core-sector-growth-slows-to-2-3-pc-in-November

New Delhi, Dec 30 (PTI) The growth of six infrastructure industries slowed to 2.3 per cent in November, the lowest in the current fiscal, mainly due to contraction in production of cement and petroleum refinery products.


The six core sectors -- crude oil, petroleum refinery products, coal, electricity, cement and finished steel -- had expanded by 5.9 per cent in November 2009.
Petroleum refinery output contracted by 3.7 per cent and that of cement by 11.6 per cent in November, data released by the industry ministry today revealed. The refinery production had expanded by 4.8 per cent and cement by 9 per cent in November 2009.

Coal production too witnessed a sluggish growth of 0.7 per cent this November against 4.7 per cent in the comparable month last year.

Growth in the finished steel sector too was slow. The data said that it expanded by 4.

Business, Energy or Environmental regulations or discussions



Baring Private Equity invests 90 million dollars in Cethar Vessels

http://www.newkerala.com/news/world/fullnews-115338.html

Chennai, Dec 30 : The Tiruchirapalli-based Rs.1,046 crore boiler manufacturer Cethar Vessels Ltd has received USD 90 million from private equity fund Baring Private Equity Partners India for an unspecified percentage stake, a top official said.

"We chose Baring Private Equity on account of their appetite for investment in infrastructure projects. We are sure that this partnership will take the company to greater heights both in India and other global markets," Cethar Vessels' chairman K. Subburaj said.
Cethar Vessels is the second largest boiler maker in India after state-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL).
The company's plant at Tiruchirapalli, around 300 km from here, has an annual capacity of 8,000 MW and is in the process of being expanded to 12,000 MW.
Cethar Vessels is currently executing power plants of unit sizes upto 350 MW and is in the process of getting orders for super critical boilers in the capacity range of 660 to 800 MW.
The fresh investment will be used for setting up facilities to manufacture steam turbines and generators, acquiring land for developing power plants and enhancing the manufacturing capabilities for super critical boilers, Subburaj told IANS.

Cethar Vessels has got the technology to make super critical boilers from US-based Riley Power, which in turn has got the know-how from Siemens. With the tie-up, Cethar Vessels can make super critical boilers of capacities of 600, 660, 800 and 1,000 MW.

The company has opened the current year with an order book of Rs.5,500 crore and hopes to close the year with a turnover of Rs.2,750 crore.
According to Rahul Bhasin, managing partner of Baring Private Equity Partners India, the investment in Cethar Vessels marks the largest investment by the private equity firm in India till date.
Baring Funds provides long-term growth capital with average holding period of over five years and currently has more than USD 1 billion assets under management.

Steel Strips Wheels starts supply to Tata Motors

http://www.newkerala.com/news/world/fullnews-115412.html

New Delhi, Dec 30 : Automobile component manufacturer Steel Strips Wheels Ltd. Thursday said that it has commenced production and supply of wheel rims to Tata Motors from its recently established facility in Jamshedpur.

"The company has started the regular production and supply of steel wheel rims to Tata Motors Ltd.from its newly established manufacturing facility at Jamshedpur from Dec 14," the company said in a regulatory statement.
According to the statement, Tata Motors has validated and approved the heavy commercial wheel rims of the company.
The third plant of the component manufacturer which was inaugurated in July 2010, has a production capacity of one million tube type and tubeless wheels per annum.
Citibank fraud:Citibank’s bottomline may face Rs 300-cr hit

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-company/earnings/earnings-news/citibank-fraudcitibanks-bottomline-may-face-rs-300-cr-hit/articleshow/7189289.cms

NEW DELHI: Citibank is likely to face a blow on its bottomline during the current financial year on account of the Rs 300-350 crore fraud at its Gurgaon branch.

The Reserve Bank of India’s customer service master circular requires banks to compensate customers for erroneous debits due to fraudulent or other transactions, payment of interest for delay in collection of a cheque, payment of interest on delay in issuing a duplicate draft or for other unauthorised actions of the bank leading to a financial loss to the customer.
Officials at the regulatory agency said that Citi would be liable to compensate customers who lost money due to the fraud that was allegedly masterminded by Shiv Raj Puri , a relationship manager at the bank’s DLF-II branch in Gurgaon.
They, however, added that the compensation amount would be determined by the bank since the RBI master circular requires banks to have customer compensation policies that are approved by their boards. Besides, the model policy of Indian Banks’ Association can be used as the basis for individual compensation policies.
Given the flexibility in deciding the compensation amount, the hit to Citi because of the fraudulent acts of Puri and his accomplices may vary. However, experts suggest that the entire amount of the fraud, which is estimated to be about Rs 300-350 crore, would not have been lost.
A Citibank executive said that no money was invested in any of the Citibank schemes. “At no point did Citi seek investment in the scheme where some of the depositors have invested. It was not a Citi product the only link that the bank has is with the employee,” the executive said. However, he added that if needed, the bank would compensate the victims of the fraud as per the guidelines.
During the last financial year Citibank’s Indian operations had reported a net profit of Rs 860 crore. While TV reports suggested that some internal action was expected by the weekend. “Some heads may roll in Citi because of the fraud,” a bank executive said.

PNB seeks partners for insurance business


http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/banking/finance/banking/pnb-seeks-partners-for-insurance-business/articleshow/7189452.cms

NEW DELHI: State-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) said it has invited expression of interest (EoI) from Indian and foreign companies for strategic partnerships in insurance business.


PNB is looking at both life and non-life business and is evaluating options, India's second-largest public sector lender said in a statement late on Wednesday.
In June, PNB bought out the stakes of its insurance joint venture partners Principal Financial Group of Mauritius and 25 per cent of Berger Paints.
Principal Financial and Berger Paints have since received regulatory approvals to take up insurance business independently.
Gateway Rail to invest Rs 25 cr to up cargo handling capacity

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/transportation/railways/gateway-rail-to-invest-rs-25-cr-to-up-cargo-handling-capacity/articleshow/7190296.cms

CHANDIGARH: Container train operator Gateway Rail Freight Limited will infuse Rs 25 crore to boost its container handling capacities, even as the logistic provider aims to clock total business volume of Rs 1,500 crore in 2010-11.


"We will be investing Rs 25 crore in adding two more rail sidings at Inland Container Depot located at Sahnewal in Ludhiana...the new rail sidings will reduce our turnaround time (for container handling) from 12-14 hours at present to 5 to 6 hours," the company's senior general manager, RK Bhasin said on Thursday.
Gateway Rail has also sought approval of Railway Board for connecting its upcoming rail sidings with main rail link, he said.

At present, it has two rail sidings for loading and unloading of containers and handles 20,000 Twenty Foot Equivalent (TEU) per month at Ludhiana ICD.

Gateway Rail Freight Limited set up Punjab's first rail linked Logistics Park cum ICD in private sector at Sahnewal in Ludhiana with in investment of Rs 150 crore last year.
Prior to this, only state-owned Container Corporation of India Limited (CONCOR) had ICD at Ludhiana, with rail linked facility.
With just over a year of operations, the company claims to have captured 40 per cent market share in cargo handling business in Punjab.
Powergear Ltd plan to foray into renewable energy sector

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/energy/power/powergear-ltd-plan-to-foray-into-renewable-energy-sector/articleshow/7190354.cms

CHENNAI: High voltage electricity equipment manufacturer Powergear Ltd has proposed a Rs 150 crore "greenfield project" with an European partner for making its formal foray into the renewable energy sector.


The Bangalore-headquartered company, which has been manufacturing "busducts" and "control cubicles" for the energy sector, is currently "holding talks" with top officials of an European company, Powergear Ltd Founder-Chairman X Durairaj said.
"We have started diversifying into Renewable energy sector and already we are in talks with European partner ...the deal is likely to be completed in January second week",he said.
It would be a Rs 150 crore "greenfield" project whereby the European partner would provide "technology" and "funding" support while his company would look after the "construction" and "operations" of the project.
It is understood that in the joint venture, the Indian company would hold a majority stake of 51 per cent. "It is too early to comment on this..", he said.

For setting up the manufacturing facility through the joint venture, he said they were scouting for locations in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

"We need a 25 acre land for the facility.. While the wind energy in Tamil Nadu is exhausted, in these four states there is huge potential for us.. In Andhra Pradesh alone 90 per cent of the wind energy potential remains untapped...", he said.
"We want to commence the production of the plant by January 2012 and in another 3-5 years we are expecting revenues (from this facility) of Rs 500 crore", he said.
On future plans, he said they were expecting revenues of Rs 148 crore this year too."That is mainly because of the recession .. Last year we reported Rs 148 crore. This year too we are expecting it to be the same..", he said.
About 70 per cent of the products are exported and there is still some recession in the overseas markets, he said.
The company currently has four manufacturing facilities -- two in Chennai, one in Bangalore and one near Andhra Pradesh, he said, adding they planned to make additional investments in the Chennai facility as part of expansion plan.
"We have planned to make Rs 10 crore additional investments in our plant at Maraimalai Nagar near Chennai. This is mainly to expand the facility. We want to increase the capacity of the plant".
The Chennai facility manufactures busducts and control cubicles.
Durairaj and other company officials were here last night to announce the major shipment of 2x817 MW generator units for a nuclear power plant in Mexico.
"This is the first time an Indian company is exporting such huge generator units to a Nuclear power plant in Mexico", he said.
Kingfisher Airline's Rs 8000 cr debt recast complete

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/transportation/airlines-/-aviation/kingfisher-airlines-rs-8000-cr-debt-recast-complete/articleshow/7190327.cms

MUMBAI: Vijay Mallya owned Kingfisher Airlines has completed its Rs 8000 crore debt recast. All the 18 lenders of Kingfisher Airlines have approved & implemented the debt restructuring package according to sources.

Rs 650 crore of lenders’ debt has been converted into preferential shares. This amount will be converted into equity at the time of GDR issue. Similarly the promoters’ debt of Rs 750 crore has also been converted in to prefential shares and will be later convert into equity at the time of GDR listing.
Rs 800 crore of debt has been converted into redeemable shares for a period of 12 years. Kingfisher Airlines has also received Rs 800 crore as additional cash facility.
The biggest relief for Kingfisher has come in the form of lower interest rate. The airline’s average interest rate is down to 11% from 20%. This would help the airline in saving Rs 500 crore annually on interest cost. SBI Capital Markets, representing a consortium of 18 banks spearheaded the debt restructuring. The airline now plans to raise $250 to $300 through a GDR issue by January end.
The listing will be done on the Luxembourg stock exchange. Kingfisher's loan funds had further increased to Rs 8,157 crore, as on September 2010, from Rs 7,926 crore in March 2010.
HCL Info buys 20 pct stake in Dubai's Techmart Telecom

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/tech/ites/hcl-info-buys-20-pct-stake-in-dubais-techmart-telecom/articleshow/7190298.cms

NEW DELHI: IT hardware services firm HCL Infosystems today said it will pick up a 20 per cent stake in Dubai-based Techmart Telecom Distribution, the distributor for Nokia smartphones in the Middle East and Africa region.


"We have signed the share purchase agreement (SPA) for acquiring a 20 per cent stake in the company through our Singapore subsidiary, HCL Investment," HCL Infosystems CEO Harsh Chitale told PTI.

HCL is one of Nokia's distributors in India. Chitale declined comment on financial details of the deal.

"With this strategic development, we are now well-positioned to further expand our global distribution footprint and this also strengthen our presence in the Middle East and African countries," Chitale said.
The agreement provides HCL with the option to acquire up to a 51 per cent equity stake in the company, Chitale said, adding that HCL will also provide consultancy and operational support services to Techmart Telecom.
"HCL Infosystems brings over a decade of expertise in the field of distribution. We look forward to work closely with them in growing the Nokia smartphones business in the region," Techmart President M P Sharma said.
In July this year, the company had picked up a 60 per cent stake in another Dubai-based firm NTS Group, which provides IT services and solutions, for USD 6.5 million.
Earlier this year, HCL Infosystems had announced that it has earmarked USD 100 million for acquisitions in emerging markets like Africa. The company had raised about Rs 800 crore through the QIP route last fiscal to expand its operations and finance potential acquisitions.
Carrefour opens first cash and carry store in India

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/services/retailing/carrefour-opens-first-cash-and-carry-store-in-india/articleshow/7190466.cms

NEW DELHI: French retail giant Carrefour today announced its entry into the Indian market by opening its first cash and carry store for wholesale distribution.


The new store -- Carrefour Wholesale Cash&Carry -- in New Delhi will house over 10,000 stock keeping units and cater to professional businesses, institutions, restaurants and local retailers.

"The opening of this first store marks Carrefour's entry into the Indian market and will be followed shortly by the opening of other cash and carry stores," Carrefour, CEO, Lars Olofsson said in a statement.

He said opening of the first store was essential to allow the Carrefour teams to fully understand the specificities of the Indian market and further build the company's presence in other formats.
According to the statement, the development is in line with the group's strategy to be present in major emerging markets that offer significant expansion and medium and long- term growth opportunities.
Spread across 5,200 square meter, the store is located at Seelampur Metro Mall developed by Parsvnath Developers.

Activity in the Oil and Gas sector (including regulatory)



ONGC hires deepwater rig from Vantage for USD 1 bn

http://www.ptinews.com/news/1230641_ONGC-hires-deepwater-rig-from-Vantage-for-USD-1-bn-

New Delhi, Dec 30 (PTI) State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) has hired an ultra-deepwater drilling rig from New York Stock Exchange-listed Vantage Drilling Company for USD 1.1 billion for five years.


"The ultra-deepwater drillship, Platinum Explorer, commenced operations for ONGC in India (on December 29)," Vantage said in a press statement.
ONGC has contracted Platinum Explorer for five years for USD 1.1 billion, it said.
The rig has been newly built at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering's Okpo shipyard in Korea.
The Platinum Explorer, following completion of shipyard construction, was mobilised to Indian waters this month.
The rig is owned 45 per cent by Vantage and 55 per cent by an affiliate of TMT Inc (TMT).
Vantage will operate the rig pursuant to a management agreement which provides for fees to Vantage, in addition to its proportionate share of cash flow.

Apicorp sells 12% stake in ACBC to Aditya Birla Group


http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/banking/finance/banking/apicorp-sells-12-stake-in-acbc-to-aditya-birla-group/articleshow/7188208.cms

DUBAI: Arab Petroleum Investment Corporation (Apicorp) will sell its 12% stake in Egypt-based Alexandria Carbon Black Company (ACBC) to Aditya Birla Group , the majority shareholder in the company.


By doing so, Apicorp — the multilateral development bank of the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (Oapec) — has kicked off a divestment plan aimed at mobilising funds for a new phase of investments, the firm said in a statement.
The divestment, Apicorp's first, was approved by its board on December 26. The UAE government owns a 17% stake in Apicorp.
Apicorp chief executive and general manager Ahmad Bin Hamad Al Nuaimi said: “The agreement is further evidence of the rapid divestment potential of our investments. Hence, this sale is part of an investment strategy to redeploy funds for diversification into new midstream sectors, particularly oil refining, storage, transport and shipping.”
He said that the goal of Apicorp's investment was to help ACBC reach a level of business stability and operational maturity from which it could sustainably accelerate its development. “Since we invested in ACBC 17 years ago, we have seen the company evolve into the world's largest production line in the carbon black industry and we now feel it is the right time to monetise the investment,” he added.

ACBC was established in Egypt in January, 1993. Apicorp has been a 12% equity stakeholder , with representation on ACBC's board, since its establishment. The company produces various grades of carbon black, the basic material used in the manufacture of tyres and other rubber-based products like hoses and inks.

Santrupt B Misra, the CEO of Aditya Birla Group's carbon black business, said: “Apicorp has played an important role in the growth of ACBC since investing in the company 17 years ago. We are sad that it will no longer be part of ACBC's investment family, but we are pleased that we will continue our partnership with Apicorp in Alexandria Fiber Company (AFCO), in which we are both equity partners.”

Militant Activity/Terrorism (Particularly in Bangalore, Mumbai, Noida, Chennai, Coimbatore)



ULFA 'chairman' granted bail, likely release tomorrow

http://www.ptinews.com/news/1230609_ULFA--chairman--granted-bail--likely-release-tomorrow-

Guwahati, Dec 30 (PTI) The banned ULFA 'chairman' Arabinda Rajkhowa was today granted bail and is likely to be released from jail tomorrow, a year since his arrest after being nabbed by Bangladesh security agencies and handed over to Indian authorities.


A designated TADA court here granted relief to 54-year-old Rajkhowa in six TADA cases for his release from the Guwahati Central Jail with the Assam government filing no objection to his bail plea.
The Congress government in Assam did not object to the bail plea against the backdrop of its offer for peace talks with ULFA.
The hearing of the bail petition was earlier deferred thrice this month with the court on Monday asking the home and political department to submit an affidavit on his latest status.
Rajkhowa is likely to come out of jail tomorrow after fulfilling the release formalities.
Parliament attack convict released from Tihar Jail

http://www.rediff.com/news/report/parliament-attack-convict-released-from-tihar-jail/20101230.htm

December 30, 2010 09:48 IST

Shaukat Hussain Guru, a convict in the Parliament attack case, was released from Tihar Jail in Delhi on Wednesday.

Incidentally, Shaukat is a cousin of Afzal Guru, who was sentenced to death in connection with the attack and is currently awaiting the President's decision on his clemency petition.
Six policemen and one Parliament employee were killed when five terrorists breached the stringent security arrangements around India's national legislature on December 13, 2001.
Shaukat, along with Afzal and Professor S A R Geelani, a Kashmiri lecturer working in Delhi, was sentenced to death by a trial court on December 16, 2002.
The Delhi high court, while upholding the death sentence of Shaukat and Afzal, acquitted Geelani in October 2003, stating that the proof based on phone tapping was insufficient for his conviction.
In 2005, the Supreme Court overturned the death sentence of Shaukat and dismissed 12 of the charges slapped on him, reducing his jail term to ten years. The apex court upheld the death sentence on Afzal and the acquittal of Geelani.
Another petition filed by Shaukat in August 2007, for reversing his conviction, was admitted by the Supreme Court but later rejected.
Malegaon blast case: Court rejects bail pleas of three accused

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/article1018606.ece

A special court on Thursday rejected the bail pleas of three accused including Lt. Col Prasad Purohit, arrested in the September 2008 Malegaon blast case after accepting the prosecution’s argument that if released on bail the accused would indulge in unlawful activities.

Purohit and two other accused — Rakesh Dhawde and Ajay Rahirkar — had sought for bail stating that they have been falsely implicated and that since the chargesheet has been filed in the case their custody was not required further.

The trio and seven others including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur have been accused by state Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) for allegedly carrying out blasts at Malegaon on September 29, 2008 that left six dead and several others injured.
The prosecution had opposed the bail pleas stating that the accused floated a group Abhinav Bharat and indulged in criminal conspiracy and their main object was to threaten the unity and integrity of the nation.
“The accused wanted to overpower the Indian government and create a Hindu Rashtra for which they had indulged in terror activities. If they are released on bail they would continue such unlawful acts,” special public prosecutor Rohini Salian argued. The accused had conspired to do away with certain members of RSS as they were against the accused’s ideology.
“According to the accused, the so called Hindu political parties have betrayed the cause of Hindutva by using it as a political tool,” Mr. Salian said.
All the eleven accused have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), Arms Act, Explosives Act and Explosive Substances Act.
The court is expected to hear Sadhvi’s bail plea on January 10. Sadhvi had sought to be released on bail on medical grounds.

Labor/Social Unrest



UP government ban strikes in all medical institutions

http://www.ptinews.com/news/1229740_UP-government-ban-strikes-in-all-medical-institutions-

Lucknow, Dec 30 (PTI) Uttar Pradesh government has invoked Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) to ban strikes in all the medical institutions of the state for the next six months, officials said here today.

"Keeping in mind the difficulties faced by patients due to the strikes by junior doctors and employees, the government has banned strikes in all medical institutions/ colleges by invoking Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA)," an official spokesman said.
Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Science (SGPGIMS), Chhatrpati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University and all medical colleges will be covered in the order, he said.
Partial response to AKRSU bandh

http://news.webindia123.com/news/articles/India/20101230/1658076.html

Guwahati | Thursday, Dec 30 2010 IST


A 24-hour Assam bandh called by the AKRSU in support of their demand for a separate Kamatapur state evoked partial response today. The bandh affected normal life in the areas in western Assam where the AKRSU has considerable influence. Life was affected in Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Udalguri and adjoining districts. Impact of the bandh was also seen in belts with AKRSU presence in eastern Assam districts. The All Koch-Rajbonshi Students Union (AKRSU) has been demanding a Kamatapur state carved out of few Assam and West Bengal districts.


Gujjars' rail blockade in Pillupura on ; 3 routes opened

http://news.webindia123.com/news/articles/India/20101230/1658095.html

Jaipur | Thursday, Dec 30 2010 IST



The rail blockade by Gujjars on the busy Delhi-Mumbai route at Pillupura continued on the 11th day today amid hope for talks resuming between the community and the state Government later in the day.
Train traffic on vital Delhi-Jaipur-Ahmedabad and Jaipur-Agra routes resumed last night after the dharna was lifted.

Sit-in on the track in Niwai was also lifted yesterday evening facilitating opening of Jaipur-Kota rail route.
''The Gujjar leaders and core committee have authorised Action Committee Convener Col Kirodi Singh Bainsla for taking decision on future course of action and further talks are likely today,'' Gujjar leader Dr Roop Singh said over telephone last night.


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