Several international players have shown interest in setting up solar equipment manufacturing units in Gujarat Solar Park, to be launched by chief minister Narendra Modi on December 30 at Patan in north Gujarat. Japanese MNCs Sharp, Panasonic, Mitsui and TMEIC, Swiss major Oerlikon Corporation and Germany’s Schott Solar have evinced interest in setting up units in the park, say sources. “State government officials met senior executives of these companies during their recent Vibrant Gujarat campaign trips to Japan and Europe,” a senior bureaucrat in the CM office said, adding, “Some of the executives from these companies will be attending the Vibrant Gujarat business meet on January 13.” The official said, the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI), USA, provided the initial boost by selecting the site spread over 2,500 acres of land at Santalpur in Patan district for setting up the park. This “particularly impressed” the international giants. The CCI in its report for setting up the park at the north Gujarat site found that, at 5.6, solar irradiation here is highest in the country. Rajasthan has a comparable advantage, but its dusty climate discouraged CCI,” an official said.
While the CCI was not in picture post initial study, the initiative for setting up the park has gone to the Gujarat Power Corporation Ltd — nodal agency to ensure systematic implementation of the project. “The 2,500 acre land piece identified for the park is government wasteland, hence has no acquisition hassles,” the official said. “80% of the units in the park will be setting up shop based on photo voltaic solar technology.” Gujarat government has already signed power purchase agreement with 17 solar companies to set up solar power generation units for the Rs 150-crore project, for more than 200 MW. Power purchase agreements (PPAs) with these firms have been signed, obliging these companies to commission units by December 2011.
The PPAs offer Rs 15 per unit as subsidy for first 12 years, after which the subsidy will go to down to Rs 5 for next 13 years. “Our aim is to ensure grid parity price for solar power generation, which is Rs 4-5 per unit, within a decade so that the technology becomes viable,” an official said.
K Karunakaran’s tryst with painting came after he had to discontinue studies in Class VIII following a rare health condition — tears welling up whenever he read or wrote. It was the illness which brought Karunakaran to Thrissur — for treatment — from Kannur where he was born. Subsequently, the temple town became his political fiefdom. He entered politics through the Prajamadalam, a regional party formed in then Cochin in 1941. At 26, Karunakaran was elected unopposed to the Thrissur corporation from Chembukavu ward on its ticket. The fiery young man then went on to organise plantation labourers in the district, much to the chagrin of Marxists who claimed proprietary rights over working class issues. They gave him the sobriquet “black leg”. But Karunakaran’s nemesis, his critics said, was the desire to promote his children K Muraleedharan and Padmaja Venugopal in politics. The father-son duo had floated the Democratic Indira Congress (K) in 2005. In 1971, Karunakaran became home minister in the coalition government headed by C Achuta Menon of CPI. The tenure that lasted till 1977 would later continue to haunt him forever, accounting for the alleged custodial death of engineering student Rajan during Emergency. It was due to Karunakaran’s skills that even as Indira Gandhi lost in 1977 after emergency, the Congress combine won 111 of 140 assembly and all 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala.
Pawar was responding to the queries about the stiff opposition being put up against the nuclear power project proposed to be set up at Jaitapur in Ratnagiri. The protesters contention is that if the plant comes up there, it will serve a major blow to environment. “Similar objections were raised when Enron power plant was set up, when the protesters had claimed that it would damage the horticulture of the Konkan belt. Nothing of the sort happened,” Pawar said, adding that Maharashtra suffered from deficit in power supply and needed additional plants to make progress in the industrial front and to generate employment. “If every project in the state is opposed, how will it develop?”
Obviously conscious of the toll, a series of scams and controversies have taken on the credibility and image of the Congress and the government, Sonia Gandhi on Sunday announced a multipronged war on corruption and directed ministers and partymen to tackle the menace head-on. The Congress plenary, which met against the backdrop of 2G, CWG and Adarsh, was turned by Sonia into a platform to claim that the Congress—which has recently been rocked by a series of scams—would actually lead the fight against corruption. She sought to give this fight an institutional character by calling for fast-tracking corruption cases against politicians and other public servants, abolishing the government’s discretionary powers to allocate land (which she dubbed as the top source of corruption), transparent auctioning of mining leases and state funding of elections. Sonia Gandhi’s 5-point agenda for probity in public life also included transparency in public procurement processes and protection to whistleblowers. She told her partymen that simplicity, restraint and austerity must be our chosen way, called upon them to avoid vulgar displays of wealth and waste, and lamented that austerity couldn’t be made into a law.
An article by Surojit Gupta.
A collective gasp resounded around Mumbai when Morne Morkel’s delivery cut back and missed the inside edge of his bat. It was around 7.30pm and the Master Blaster’s scorecard stood precariously on 97. Two overs later, Sachin pushed Dale Steyn to midwicket for two. 99 runs. In the next delivery, he drove the fast bowler to deep cover. Another collective gasp could be heard in Mumbai. A gasp of awe. The cricketing god had reached his 50th Test century. On the historic day, Mumbaikars felt this was an unmatchable feat, long awaited and well deserved. Once again, with his heavy bat in hand, the Mumbaicha mulga had silenced his detractors who tirelessly snap at his heels. Many believe that the ton was a pitch-perfect answer to all of Tendulkar’s critics who gladly wrote him off after his out-of-form phase about two years ago. Mumbaikars were delighted that Tendulkar is still going strong twenty years after his international debut in Karachi in 1989. Many said that the feat will remain unmatched for years to come.
V. Thulasidas, special officer and director of Kannur International Airport Ltd (Kial), the company formed by the Kerala government for the construction of the airport, said the board of directors of the airport company is yet to take a final decision. He did not divulge any details. “However, the foundation stone for the airport would be laid on 17 December in the presence of Kerala chief minister and Union civil aviation minister (Praful Patel). The preliminary work for the airport will start following that,“ Thulasidas said.
Hotel Leelaventure Ltd's vice-chairman and managing director Vivek Nair confirmed the development, adding the funding is being tied up.
The equity is being raised by his company and debt by co- promoter IL&FS, he said. “We are planning to build the airport in 30 months from 17 December. This will give a fillip to the tourism industry in the north Kerala. Already, six resorts are coming up in this area,“ he said.
Nair also said a dedicated rail line, to be built by the Indian Railways and Kial, is planned to connect Kannur with Bekal, a popular tourist town in north Kerala. The journey from Kannur to Bekal will take 50 minutes instead of three- and-a-half hours from the Mangalore airport.
“This airport is unlikely to affect other airports in Kerala or the New Mangalore airport, as the plan by Kannur airport is to develop the tourism belt in north Kerala, which is untapped. However, the passenger growth estimated in this airport is not attractive and, therefore, tourism-linked promotions are critical for the airport's success,“ said an aviation industry consultant on the condition of anonymity.
Nair of Leelaventure said that upfront development costs will be low--an estimated `850 crore--though the airport would expand passenger capacity in the future.
The final cost of the project Source: Companies and the capital structure of the company has not yet been finalized. IL&FS is working on a detailed project report, said Nair.
“Initially, the airport would be able to handle jumbo jet Boeing 747. In a later stage, it would be able to handle Airbus 380,“ he added.
Apart from Leela group and IL&FS, with a combined stake of 32%, other private companies that would have a stake include Mumbai-based Mennen Group, that runs several financial services firms and Mennen Aviation and Hos- pitality Ltd. It will own 16%.
Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation, a state-run agency, will own 26% of Kannur airport in lieu of part of a value of land acquired for the project.
Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation and other state-run public sector units will own 3%, while state- run oil marketing companies Hindustan Petroleum Co. Ltd (HPCL) and Indian Oil Corp.
Ltd (IOCL) will own 1%. The Airports Authority of India and Changi Airport Services Pte Ltd of Singapore will hold 15% in the project.
“We have challenged the verdict on the ground that the high court has erred both in law and facts in holding that the land over which Babri Masjid stood was the place of birth of Ram,” the Board said after its counsel filed the petition in the apex court. Exactly a month ago, the first appeal against the landmark verdict was filed in SC by Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (JUH), which was plaintiff No. 2 before the HC. JUH, which had filed the original suit in 1961 before the HC claiming ownership over the disputed area then housing the disputed structure, in its petition through advocate Anis Suhrawardy assailed the Allahabad HC verdict on the ground that by ordering partition of the area, it travelled beyond the pleadings of the parties as none of them had argued for it. “The permission to perform puja cannot change the undisputed character of the structure, which has been consistently recorded in official records as a mosque,” JUH had said.
On the other hand, the second petition filed by the legal guardian of the idol, Ram Lalla, had claimed that the entire land should be given to him for utilizing it for the worship of the idol. The JUH, however, had said, “The HC has re-written history with its judgment by substituting its role from an adjudicatory body in law to that of the role of historian.”
Soaring inflation has been a headache for the government for several months and has led to protests. The RBI has raised interest rates six times this year to calm prices and has said controlling inflation remains a key policy challenge in the months ahead. But Tuesday’s data brought some cheer for policymakers. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said the latest inflation data showed that India had done well in its monetary and fiscal policies but cautioned that it was important to stay on the planned path. “These numbers take us another step towards our forecast of 6% inflation by March 2011,” Mukherjee said.
Economists said the latest inflation data will take pressure off from RBI. Although the upward revision in the inflation rate for September is a cause for some concern, it is unlikely that the RBI would revise policy rates in the December mid-quarter review of monetary policy. The government revised the September inflation number to 8.9% from the earlier provisional estimate of 8.6%.
Rankings to the cities are based on the Porter’s diamond model, a benchmark model presented by Michael Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University professor at Harvard Business School. The indicators of the model are access to high quality business inputs, related and supporting industries, demand condition and local rules and incentives, vigorous local competition. Data released by government departments and prominent research organizations has been used. IFC is affiliated to Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, Harvard Business School and the only Indian research partner of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
Dr Y K Alagh, former Union minister of state for planning, science & technology and power, said, “I am not surprised to see three Gujarat cities in the list. The decentralized urbanization across the state is the reason behind the higher rankings. Establishment of public infrastructure is helping improve competitiveness of the cities.” Alagh also believes that Gujarat is the best state in imparting technical education and training that provides trained manpower to industries.
Chidambaram’s statement on migrants, which he had to retract in the face of a storm of criticism from UP chief minister Mayawati and several Congress and Opposition MPs, might help the Sena counter the DF government’s latest attack on the Shiv Sena-BJP rule the Mumbai municipal corporation, said political observes. Pointing out that it was the Sena that had raised the issue of migrants at the party’s debut meeting in 1966, Saamna said the crisis had worsened over the past 45 years. “Influx is a major crisis for Mumbai.A slum can be regularized in return of votes. People who come from outside have no fear for the law,” added Saamna. The Sena morninger reminded its readers that the Delhi chief minister, too, had voiced concern about the growing influx of Bihar, Uttar Pardesh and Haryana migrants into the national capital. Saamna urged Chidambaram to crack the whip on migrants before it was too late.
However, Syed Safawi, president wireless business said it will take at least three to six months to get tangible and predictable revenues from 3G. At present around 20-25% of the urban subscribers on Reliance Communications’ GSM, or global system for mobile communications, services have 3G phones. In the more remote areas between 8 and 10% have 3G handsets, he added. The company has close to 120 million subscribers of which a third are on GSM, while the rest use the CDMA technology mobile services. Migrating customers from 2G to 3G network is expected to decongest the over-utilised existing networks for operators. “That is not our business case. We will use our entire 3G spectrum for data,” Mr Safawi said. The company has various payment plans which will allow customers to pay for what they use. Reliance Communications is not offering any unlimited plans. Over the span of a year the company will look at roaming tie-ups with other operators to offer services anywhere in the country, Mr Safawi said.