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Old July 7th, 2008, 06:52 PM   #21
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cross posting from the railways thread


German firm to study speed train corridor project


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Project of speed train corridor from Mumbai to Nagpur is one step ahead with a German consultancy Vossing have been selected by state government for its pre-feasibility report.

"The responsibility of pre-feasibility study to the consultant was given last month and it has already started the work, " Additional Chief Secretary of Planning Department A M Aggrawal told.

The consultancy was selected for the pre-feasibility work in mid-June after considering its past experience as well as technical and financial records.

The route of the most ambitious project from Mumbai to Nagpur is of 1,000 km and currently takes around 14 hours to cover. The train is expected to run at the speed of 300 km per hour, Aggrawal said.

The first proposed route would go through Pune and Marathwada region while in the second route, some part of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region would be included, he added. The project is aimed at connecting the underdevloped part of Marathwada region to Mumbai for further development.

The consultant is expected to find out ideal route, technology and financing pattern. It has given time period of six months to submit the report, Aggrawal said.

The State Government has suggested them maglev (Magnetic Leviation) as one of the options for speed train.

For the financing pattern, the Government would prefer public-private partneship model, he said.

Consulting majors bidding for the pre-feasibility contract included Louis Berger Group in association with Reliance Industries-promoted Urban Infrastructure Development Co, KPMG, Vossing (Germany), TUV.SUD South Asia, and others.
source economictimes.com
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Old July 20th, 2008, 07:40 PM   #22
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cross posting from the railways thread


Thane-Panvel railway line to be operated by this year end


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Thane-Panvel railway line will become operational by the end of this year, Thane MP Anand Paranjpe said.

Paranjpe, who met the Railway Dvisional Ralway Manager J N Lal on Saturday, said here that the work on the long-pending Thane-Panvel rail link was going on a fast pace.

A visibly joyed Paranjpe told presspersons, after meeting the DRM, that the railway line could be considered to be a new year's gift by the Railways to lakhs of people in Thane and Raidagh districts.

The rail line will prove to be a boon to developing cities in and around Thane and Mumbai. With the new international airport coming up in Raigadh/Navi Mumbai this will go a long way in improving the communication net work, the MP said.

Paranjpe was accompanied by Shiv Sena Thane district unit chief and MLA Eknath Shinde.

According to the MP the other issues discussed at the meeting included several problems being faced by lakhs of railway commuters of Thane and Karjat and Kasara.

It was decided that a team of Central Railway officials along with the elected representatives will visit these railway stations in Thane, Karjat and Kasara areas to have on the spot study.

It was also decided at the meeting that the long-pending work on the East and West railway link of Thane city will resume with immediate effect.

The other issues discussed at the meeting were maintenance of cleanliness at railway stations, halting of all long distance trains at Thane, mending of faulty ticket vending machines and other problems being faced by commuters by Smart Card validating machines.
source economictimes.com
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Old July 24th, 2008, 12:39 PM   #23
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Industry in Maharashtra to face 40-hour power cuts


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IT’S DARK days ahead. The state energy ministry in its meeting on Wednesday said that from July 25 onwards, industry in Maharashtra will witness 40 hours of planned power cuts in a week, which may go up to 48 hours from next week if the situation doesn’t improve.
ET on Tuesday had reported that the state energy ministry increased the duration of power cuts to 24 hours from 16 hours.
However, the demand-supply shortfall, which has hit 5,200-5,300 mw, has prompted Maharashtra to increase load shedding hours for industrial units across the state.
A surge in demand due to the prolonged dry spell, a drop in water levels of major dams across the state and the need to reserve available water as a contingency measure for potable water supply to cities, have hit the power sector hard.
The state has already resorted to increased load shedding in cities and villages.
Satellite towns like Navi Mumbai and Thane are witnessing power cuts up to four to five hours a day, whereas rural areas are reeling under more than 14 hours of load shedding.
source economictimes epaper
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Old July 25th, 2008, 05:39 PM   #24
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Dip & dim for malls, streets


Malls In Big Cities Across The State Will Have To Reduce Their Power Consumption By 20%. Power Consumed By Street Lights Will Have To Be Cut Too, And Electronic Hoardings Switched Off

Quote:
THESE are tough times for electricity consumers in Maharashtra, particularly outside Mumbai. Friday onwards, malls in big cities across the state (including Mumbai) will have to reduce their power consumption by 20%. Further, there will be a restricted power supply for all the glitzy advertisement billboards and hoardings outside Mumbai.
The rationing extends to street lights as well. Municipalities outside Mumbai, those served by the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB), will have to reduce power consumed by street lights by as much as 20%. That means, the streets of many cities, including the tony Navi Mumbai — a separate municipality — will be devoid of lighting for some days in a month. Mumbai and its suburbs are supplied power by BEST, Tata Power Company and Reliance Energy and some areas like Bhandup, Mulund and Kanjurmarg are served by MSEB.
The new protocol, aimed at reducing the gap between demand and supply, also applies to the information technology industry, government offices, municipal corporations and municipalities and high tension (HT) consumers, Maha Vitaran managing director Ajay Bhushan Pandey said at a press conference. HT consumers and agriculture consumers constitute 30% each of the Maha Vitaran’s total service area.
In addition, all electronic hoardings in cities serviced by Maha Vitaran will be switched off for the next 15 days. “These are temporary measures announced to tide over the crisis brought about mainly by a prolonged dry spell. There could be some relief if the rains resume,” Mr Pandey said.
On July 24, the demand-supply shortfall reached 5,200 mw and Maha Vitaran decided to implement power-saving measures to another section of consumers, apart from farmers and residents of small towns. On July 24, the peak-hour demand increased to 14,200 mw against the supply of 9,000 mw. During the corresponding period last July, average demand stood at 10,666 mw against 12,877 mw this July. Mr Pande said the problem had got compounded as Maha Vitaran had to take off some generation units for maintenance, causing a drop of about 1,000 mw in supply.
Though the island city and the suburbs won’t be subjected to load-shedding, big malls across Mumbai will have to start saving 20% power, Friday onwards. “We expect the malls to follow this instruction. We are going to monitor whether the malls observe this austerity measure,” said Mr Pandey.
The latest power-saving measures follow action taken by Maha Vitaran last week to extend load shedding hours at industrial estates first by eight hours and then by 16 hours, to take total duration of planned power cut to 40 hours a week. With large parts of the state still not receiving rains and the consequent rise in demand, Maha Vitaran has also increased load shedding hours all over the state. In big cities, power cuts have been increased by one hour from the minimum 4.45 hours to maximum 7 hours. Load shedding has been increased by one hour in other smaller cities and towns.
source economictimes epaper
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Old July 31st, 2008, 01:03 PM   #25
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Diesel shortage now hits small industries hard in Maharashtra


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AFTER retail consumers, industries have been hit hard by diesel shortage. Almost all parts of the state have been facing a severe shortage of the fuel as demand has gone up by 20-25%, thanks to insufficient rains.
After petrol pump owners were instructed to stop bulk sale of diesel in barrels and containers on Tuesday, the Food Distribution Office (FDO) received 100 applications from small industries requesting it not to stop the sale of diesel in barrels.
The FDO had seized 800 litres of diesel being sold in barrels to a machine manufacturer. However, the authorities are still to decide on the action to be taken against the pump owner. “We have received about 100 applications from industry. They are saying production will come to a standstill if they don’t get diesel. We have asked them to wait for two more days for supply to normalise,” FDO foodgrain distribution officer Pradip Patil said.
Pune’s industry did not face too much of an electricity crunch till about two weeks ago, due to the zero load shedding model. However, with load shedding back with six-hour power cuts every day, the demand for diesel for running generators has suddenly shot up.
CII, WR deputy chairman and director, Forbes Marshall, Naushad Forbes, said big industrial units have been hit hard as they have to pay more for electricity. “However, it is the medium- and small-scale units that have been hit harder as they cannot operate,” he said.
Meanwhile, president of the Petrol Dealers Association in Pune, Baba Dhumal, has issued a statement threatening to stop purchase of the fuel from oil marketing companies from Monday unless they increase supply by 25%. “The OMCs had committed, in front of the additional collector on Tuesday, that they would increase supplies to the city by 25%. However, since they have not done so till Wednesday, we are faced with no alternative but to take retaliatory action,” Mr Dhumal said.
However, the shortage extends to places beyond Pune. Almost all parts of the state have been facing a severe crunch for well over a week. In Aurangabad, for example, people have been waiting for over 40 hours in queues to get fuel for their vehicles. In Nashik, the situation is worsening. Nagpur too has reported diesel shortage, though the situation there is not as bad.
source economictimes epaper
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Old July 31st, 2008, 01:04 PM   #26
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cross posting from the agriculture thread


‘Agri rejuvenation’ committee recycles same old suggestions to pump up sector in Maharashtra


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IT’S the same old wine. Yet another committee that’s studied the roadblocks in the state’s agricultural sector has come up with measures that have been suggested before.
The Pune University economist and vicechancellor Narendra Jadhav wants the state government to have ‘a holistic action plan’ and a ‘long-term agriculture rejuvenation programme’ to revive agriculture and raise farm incomes. Mr Jadhav, who was appointed by the state government to study the impact of farm relief packages of the Centre and the state in Vidarbha, submitted his report to chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh on Wednesday.
The 95-page report, in six chapters, calls for putting in place a long-term agriculture rejuvenation programme which would take farm sector growth to 4% per annum, Mr Jadhav told mediapersons after his meeting with the chief minister. He, however, refused to divulge details, saying the report would be discussed first by the Cabinet.
Mantralaya officials told ET the report looks at measures like an agro-based industry, interface between state and the industry or corporate houses to ensure competitive remunerative prices for farm produce, extension of formal credit coverage, organic farming, investment in the farm sector to increase productivity and region-specific subsidies aimed at definite groups of beneficiaries.
“It’s a comprehensive report which discusses all issues pertaining to the agriculture sector threadbare. When I was asked to look into the impact of the prime minister’s special rehabilitation package and the state government’s relief package, the mandate was restricted to farm suicides only. But later on, the government expanded the terms of reference,” Mr Jadhav said.
The economist, who studied the issue for more than six months, said the report also looked at the farm debt waiver announced by the Centre and its impact. “The agriculture sector in the country is in dire straits and needs to be revived. But there has to be a definite blueprint for an action plan to achieve this and increase farm sector growth from less than 2% now. The report discusses measures that can achieve this,” Mr Jadhav said.
Last year, when Mr Jadhav was asked to study the issue, he had made it clear that he would look at the entire farm crisis from an economist’s perspective. During the process of studying the crisis, though, Mr Jadhav met leading politicians of all parties to get their views.
In December 2005, the state government announced a Rs 1,075-crore relief package for six districts in Vidarbha which reported the highest number of suicides. In June 2006, prime minister Manmohan Singh too rushed to Vidarbha to get a first hand report of the crisis and announced a Rs 3,750-crore rehabilitation package for the six districts.
The relief measures included farm loan interest waiver, restructuring of principal loan, phased investment in irrigation and direct financial assistance to cotton farmers. While interest waiver and restructuring of loans led to an unprecedented expansion in formal credit coverage, the measures could not really arrest the rate of suicides. This prompted the state government to ask Mr Jadhav to carry out a study into the impact of relief measures and pinpoint loopholes.
source economictimes epaper
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Old July 31st, 2008, 01:16 PM   #27
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State’s disaster management plans in disarray


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THE state’s disaster management (DM) implementation is itself a big disaster. In the 18 months since its inception, the state disaster management authority (SDMA) has held only three meetings, of which two were routine pre-monsoon preparations in Mumbai. It did not submit a single report to the state legislature as required by law. The state government, too, is yet to find time to frame rules under the Disaster Management Act.
These were revealed after an NGO sought information under the Right to Information Act (RTI). The resources and livelihood group of Pune-based NGO Prayas reviewed the DM administration in the state from 2005 to 2008 under RTI.
In 2005, floods claimed over 1,100 lives across the state. Three years later, the danger of a drought has been looming large. “Even today, the main target area of SDMA, established under the leadership of the chief minister, is Mumbai.
The state executive authority, established under the chief secretary to implement decisions taken by SDMA, held just one meeting that focused on the lessons of the 2005 flood,” Prayas research associate Sachin Warghade said at a press conference recently.
After the 2005 floods, the state government had identified 70 villages in need of permanent rehabilitation since they suffer frequent floods. “But the process has not even started in 65 villages,” Mr Warghade stated.
The Comptroller and Auditor General has pointed out serious irregularities in the DM work carried out in the state after the 2005 floods. However, an RTI application by Prayas to the Anti-Corruption Bureau has exposed the state’s lack of action in this matter.
According to the DM Act, it is mandatory for each state and district to have a separate DM plan. After the 1993 Latur earthquake, which claimed nearly 10,000 lives, the state prepared its first DM plan in 1998 with the help of the World Bank. But it took another seven years for the state to update it. Two years after the 2005 floods, the state handed over the responsibility of updating the 1998 DM plans to its training arm, Yashada.
However, the SDMA has not issued any guidelines for preparing the district DM plans; neither has the state government made financial allocations for the district administration to implement the plans.
Prayas had asked for DM information under RTI from 33 districts, of which only 16 replied. “Some districts even tried to mislead us. Five districts replied that they had updated their DM plans,” said Mr Warghade. The situation at the district level regarding meetings and reports is worse than that at state level.
The NGO found that the institutional structure of DM at the taluka and village levels exists only on paper. Only Kolhapur faired well on most parameters.
source economictimes epaper
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Old August 1st, 2008, 01:45 PM   #28
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Matheran Realty setting up low-cost houses in Karjat


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IT COULD well be termed a lottery with a difference. Anyone who has chanced to buy a lottery ticket at some point is aware that the rewards are huge for an almost minimal charge. Matheran Realty is banking on this for its first phase of 2,000 flats. Situated about 100 km from Mumbai in picturesque Karjat,
this project will have apartments at 300 sq.ft. apiece.
So, how will this work? The mechanism is pretty simple actually, with a person having to fill an application form which is priced at Rs 100. To make sure there is no unfair advantage, a person can fill in just one form ensuring everyone is in with an even chance. Besides, there is no question of picking and choosing since you just take the flat that comes your way. All the 2,000 apartments will be given to the winners through the lottery method. The price tag is Rs 999 per sq.ft.
Matheran Realty is working with UK’s Eredene Capital and Philippines’ Sterling Construction Systems (SCS). The township, called Tanaji Malasure City, is now witnessing the first phase of construction. The plans by any yardstick are gargantuan—in all, there will be 2 lakh houses with each having an area of 300-500 sq.ft. Come January 2009, the first set of owners will be ready to move into their dream home.
SCS is banking on the paucity of affordable housing in Mumbai to drive its mega township. “We expect a huge response to the scheme,” says SCS president (marketing) Harinder Bhalla. There seems to be hope for those who do not get their allotments in the first phase. They will get preference when booking starts for the second phase. That effort may be worth it since the project will be home to schools, colleges, hospitals and a retail centre. The entire exercise is expected to be completed over the next 10 years. All this will be over 100 acres. Eredene Capital will fund the project to the
extent of Rs 131.2 crore with SCS offering technical support.
The big worry for most people is what the house will eventually cost? At the end of it, it will work out to Rs 3 lakh. Those who opt for the monthly payment option will need to shell out Rs 2,000. Speaking of construction technology, SCS will use prefabricated Hardiflex fibre cement boards. This has been used with some success for housing projects in the Philippines, Australia, Jordan, Vietnam, and in India. Importantly, it lowers construction cost by 15-20%, and construction is much faster .
With a price tag of Rs 3 lakh, this form of housing could work well for those in the Rs 8,000-10,000 salary bracket. In terms of profitability, there is always a question mark. “Such projects are profitable though the margins may be lower than what premium property developers get,” says Park Lane Property Advisors managing director Akshaya Kumar. Others tracking the industry think that low-cost housing will have acceptable levels of production quality and succeeds in cutting down frills such as high quality paints, open space and parking.
source economictimes epaper
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Old August 1st, 2008, 02:48 PM   #29
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cross posting from the Auto thread


Baramati to be Piaggio’s engine hub


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ITALIAN auto major Piaggio, whose fully-owned Indian subsidiary Piaggio Vehicles (PVPL) is the market leader in the three-wheeler segment, intends to convert its upcoming engine shop at its Baramati plant into a global hub for sourcing powertrains.
Piaggio is investing Rs 450 crore in the project and will develop twin cylinder turbo-charged diesel engines of up to 1.2 litre in technical collaboration with Japanese major Diahatsu Motors. The Euro IV and V compatible engines will be used for new-generation mini-trucks that Piaggio plans to launch in India. The facility will have a scaleable capacity of 50,000 engines in the initial phase, which will also be used for exports to its global centres.
PVPL CMD Ravi Chopra told ET: “We are bullish on the Indian market. We are already the market leader in three-wheelers and have a sizeable presence in smaller trucks. The new generation engines will help introduce our new platforms in domestic and export markets. We are planning to make trucks with a payload of one tonne and launch new vehicles fitted with fuel-efficient engines.”
PVPL has also sealed an agreement with Greaves Cotton through which the latter will supply GL 400 and GL 435 monocylinder diesel engines for Piaggio’s three-wheeler range. It already sources engines from German engine maker Kohler Group, which supplies the 482 cc liquid-cooled diesel engines for its sub-one tonner, Ape Truk.
“We are in the process of developing different powertrains for our new vehicles. We are developing low-cost, fully customised new trucks for the export market. It will sport the new series of engines currently under development and help us tap overseas markets,” Mr Chopra said.
Piaggio has a market share of 47% in the three-wheeler market. It had sold 40,000 vehicles of the total 85,409 three-wheelers in the April-June quarter. It also exports to South Africa, Argentina, Mexico, Peru and neighbouring Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. PVPL is conducting a feasibility report to enter the two wheeler segment. The company has announced its intentions to launch scooters from its global platform by 2010.
source economictimes epaper
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Old August 1st, 2008, 05:23 PM   #30
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cross posting from the agriculture thread


Maharashtra : Kharif acreage may fall by 25%


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Sowing of summer crops in Maharashtra has picked up since the monsoon revived, but farmers may not cultivate up to 25% of the area because of erratic rains, a state government official said.

The state, which is the biggest producer of sugarcane and summer-sown or kharif pulses and second biggest producer of soyabean and cotton in the country, had in early-July declared a drought-like situation because of scanty rains.

“Marathwada and other parts of the state that are worst-hit, have been receiving good rains in last four-five days. Farmers have increased pace of sowing,” Prabhakar Deshmukh, state agriculture commissioner said on Tuesday.

Various regions in the state received 24 to 62% lower rains in June 1 to July 23, compared to the long-term average, weather department data showed. “We can see late sowing in few crops like pigeon peas, corn and cotton. However it is not possible for farmers to cultivate entire area under kharif crops. They may finish this season by cultivating 75% of the land,” he said.

The normal area under summer crops, excluding sugarcane, is 12.8 mn hectares in the state, Mr Deshmukh said. India’s annual monsoon rains, crucial to farm output and economic growth, had covered the Maharashtra, three days ahead of the usual time of arrival, expected to lead to early sowing. But, scanty rains since then have changed expectations.

Farmers may divert about one mn hectares area under kharif crops to rabi season crops due to delayed rains, Mr Deshmukh said. Acreage under green and black gram may see a sharp fall as these crops farmers usually sow at the beginning of the kharif season, he said.
source economictimes.com
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Old August 4th, 2008, 01:33 PM   #31
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Maharashtra’s farm crisis may deepen


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MAHARASHTRA’s farm crisis is likely to deepen with projections of a drastic drop in production of all commodities, including cash crops. Erratic and less-than-average rainfall in more than 65% of the state does not augur well for the 2008 and 2009 farm seasons, officials at the state’s agriculture department and Punebased agriculture commissionerate feel.
“We expect the 2008-09 season to be a deficit year in terms of production of major crops. Data collected about sowing done so far and spread of monsoon suggest that there could be at least 30% to 40% drop in yields of food grains, cereals, pulses, soyabean, other oilseeds, and cash crops like cotton and sugar. Yields from horticulture farming would be lower than expectations,” a senior agriculture official told ET.
Revised estimates suggest that the state could end up producing around 50 to 60 lakh quintals of soybean, down 40% from the earlier projection of almost 100 lakh quintals and 150 lakh quintals of cotton, down 50% from the original estimate and last season’s output.
The report, released by the agriculture department, is quite alarming. Of around 130 lakh hectares of cultivable land in the state, only about 42 lakh hectares has come under sowing so far. In fact, more than 2.5 lakh hectares was brought under cultivation in the past 10 days, thanks to the recent showers.
“With just around one-third of the total cultivable land sown, the prospects look gloomy. The scenario may not improve even if it rains very heavily now, because the best period of the Kharif season has passed. We assume that the sowing could go up to 60% provided there is good rainfall across the major agriculturedominated regions in the first fortnight of August,” another official said.
The agriculture department is also worried about the area under cultivation. Sources said, the frequent dry spells this monsoon have sapped moisture from soil, which could lead to a reduction in productivity of major crops. In particular, sugar cane, cotton, and soyabean are water-intensive crops and depend largely on the monsoon. More than 80% of the cultivable area is rain-fed in the state.
“The lack of rain spells doom even for regions serviced by irrigation facilities. A bulk of the available water in dams gets diverted for drinking, and agricultural use is restricted. Hence, the dry spell will severely impact productivity and per hectare production of crops could see a significant drop,” says an agriculture official.
Showers in the previous fortnight have slightly improved the availability of water in dams. Irrigation department sources said the minor, medium and major dams across the state had about 26% of water against their capacity. But dams had water availability at around 54% during the corresponding period last year, sources said.
source economictimes epaper
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Old August 4th, 2008, 01:59 PM   #32
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cross posting from the energy thread


A small hamlet in Konkan may be the hub of India’s nuclear resurgence


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MADBAN, a small, sleepy village along the picturesque Konkan coast, has been keenly tracking the Indo-US nuclear deal. Because this tiny hamlet would probably bear the first visible sign of India’s nuclear resurgence. It will house a giant 10,000-mw power plant that will run on imported uranium.
The Rs 50,000-crore plant, the country’s biggest once commissioned, is slated to come up at Madban Village in Rajapur taluka of Ratnagiri district along the Konkan coast. As planned, it would be a third generation design for a European pressurised water reactor (EPR). “The plant would be the first beneficiary of the Indo-US civilian nuclear co-operation deal,” sources say.
As reported by ET last month, a study by the Konkan Agriculture Univserity has concluded that the proposed project will not affect the region’s biodiversity. The Konkan university, which was engaged by National Environment Engineering Research Institute, studied an area falling within a 26-km radius of the project site from January 2007 to December 2007. The findings of the survey were submitted last month. The study found that the region has some endangered species and mangroves, but the proposed project would not in any way threaten their existence.
According to Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) sources, efforts are on to run the proposed project with advanced EPRs designed and developed by Areva and Electric de France in France and Siemens in Germany. The plant will have six units of 1,600 mw each, estimated to cost over Rs 50,000 crore. As per the initial plan, NPCIL will contribute 30% of equity while the rest will be raised through various instruments, including loans from multilateral agencies.
Sources also indicate that with the US promising to help, the Indian nuclear establishment has ramped up the plant capacity up to 10,000 mw from 6,000 mw as planned earlier. Unlike other nuclear projects that have pressurised heavy water reactors, the proposed one may install light water reactors which will be fed 2-3% enriched uranium. However, sources said the final picture about the project will be clear only after a detailed project report is ready.
The state government has been asked to expedite land acquisition for the proposed project. Interestingly, the Union energy ministry, which had planned to set up a 4,000-mw ultra mega power project nearby, had to shelve its proposal following strong opposition from the locals. The Dabhol power plant is nearby too.
Once it becomes operational, it will be the second atomic power generating centre in Maharashtra after Tarapur, which houses the county’s first nuclear power generators.
source economictimes epaper
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Old August 9th, 2008, 04:36 PM   #33
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State plans law to ease industries’ entry


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THE state government is planning to bring in a legislation to ease the entry of industries into the state, at a time when the state is reportedly losing its competitive edge in terms of attracting investment.
State industry secretary Aziz Khan said a draft legislation is ready, while the rest of the procedure will be completed as early as possible. The proposed policy will have a dual focus — one for small and medium enterprises at the district level, and another for larger units.
“We want to provide quick clearances for small, medium and large units through a single window at various levels. We want to ensure entrepreneurs from such units do not have to come to Mumbai and get all the required clearances at the district-headquarter level. For this, we will need to integrate departments and ensure a single point contact,” Mr Khan said.
He was speaking to reporters after inaugurating Bharat Forge’s Rs 150-crore heavy forging division II, which marks the forging maker’s diversification from the automotive sector.
Mr Khan added, “Several states have such legislation but we have been told it does not work. So, we want to fine-tune the draft to remove shortcomings and make it workable.” He emphasised that this would be different from the existing threetier system of the district industries centre.
Referring to feedback that he has received, Mr Khan said industry wants certainty of processes. The draft is being fine-tuned and is expected to be ready in another six months. Among the issues that need tackling are inter-departmental ones, to ensure that the single window works.
Admitting that there are challenges to industry, especially over land in the Pune region, Mr Khan said the state government is working with the Centre on the Mumbai-Delhi industrial corridor. The aim is to use the Central scheme and leverage the advantage of Pune, which is a globally attractive destination.
“We are looking to see how we can use this corridor and feed it, by developing regions that are along its path. To the east of this corridor is the Talegaon-Chakan belt. So we want to see how we can develop Pune as an influential region and are suggesting that Indapur, Jejuri, Phaltan, Satara — all the way to Kolhapur, can open up,” Mr Khan said. This way, the pressure for land would be off Pune while its strengths could be used, letting the city become a centre of influence.
source economictimes epaper
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Old August 12th, 2008, 12:09 PM   #34
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‘Maharashtra could face power shortage again’


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MAHARASHTRA will have to decide quickly on the transmission corridor failing which the state will be left out of the developing electricity market, said Indian Energy Exchange (IEX) MD and CEO Jayant Deo.
“If Maharashtra wastes time and delays the corridor, the state will face power shortage in next three-four years despite the availability of enough power,” said Mr Deo.
He pointed out that the state will have to make no provision for adding transmission lines. “Funds will come from the Union government under its transmission network augmentation project,” he said.
The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) has approved the installation of 750 KV transmission lines in the state. Two of the proposed lines would come from Orissa, while one would come from Karnataka. “But this proposal has been pending before the state for approval. They need to expedite it,” said Mr Deo.
According to him, Maharashtra will have to face load shedding at least for another 10 years. There could be a relief only by 2013-14, he said. “The situation on the capacity addition front in the state is not encouraging. However, states like Orissa are implementing projects of 25,000 to 30,000 mw capacity.”
source economictimes epaper
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Old August 12th, 2008, 12:28 PM   #35
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Outokumpu to set up two new units in state


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STAINLESS steelmaker Outokumpu India, part of Finlandbased Outokumpu, plans to set up a plate service centre and a rebar processing facility next to its coil service centre, which is being built in the Ambarnath region in Maharashtra. The entire project would entail an investment of close to Rs 300 crore. Besides, the company is also looking at setting up a steel tube manufacturing plant, which could also be through a joint venture.
“The growing demand for finished and semi-finished stainless steel products across various sectors have prompted us to add a rebar processing facility and a plate service centre to our coil service centre,” said a senior company official. These centres would provide customised steel products to the industrial sector. Last year, the company sold 11,000 tonnes of steel in the domestic market and this year, it is targeting sales of 30,000 tonnes of steel.
Though the coil service centre was slated to become operational by 2009, obstacles in acquiring land have delayed the project by a year. However, the company has recently identified a 20-acre piece of land, owned by the Maharashtra State Industrial Development Corporation, and would complete the acquisition process within the next two months.
The company has also put its plan for setting up a 2.5-lakh tonne cold rolling steel plant on hold for the time being.
“We did a feasibility study on building a CR mill and decided not to proceed with investments now as Indian prices are not very attractive. The country’s unorganised stainless steel sector is huge and offer products at reasonable prices,” said a company official.
Currently, Outokumpu operates in 30 countries and serve a wide range of industries ranging from the process industry and industrial machinery to building, construction and electrical industry, transportation, electronics and information technology sector.
source economictimes epaper
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Old August 13th, 2008, 03:19 PM   #36
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Rains bring relief to the state’s industries, power-starved cities


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UNINTERRUPTED power supply to Pune, Thane and Navi Mumbai is back on the cards, and industry too can look forward to just one day off per week.
“With strong rains reducing the demand for electricity considerably and availability going up, cities like Pune, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Baramati can look forward to zero load shedding,” said Ajay Bhushan Pandey, MD, MahaVitaran, the distribution arm of the state power utility, on Tuesday.
MahaVitaran has reduced load shedding in the state by about two hours amidst a dip in in demand for power due to rains and increased generation, he said. Speaking to mediapersons, Mr Pandey said the gap between demand and supply has come down from 5,000 mw to about 2500-3,000 mw, helping the company reduce load shedding.
The power cut for industrial units, called ‘industrial staggering’ in technical parlance, has also been brought down to the original level of 16 hours per week from Wednesday. The weekly industrial staggering had gone up to as high as 40 hours recently.
The facility of zero load shedding in Pune, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Baramati will also be restored immediately if the parties concerned manage to acquire the required electricity, Mr Pandey said. According to information, Pune and Thane have already contracted for the necessary power. Thane is expected to receive around 75 mw and Pune some 150 mw from the Tata Power. The new load shedding hours, excluding these cities, have been decided based on commercial and distribution losses reported by different regions on the directive of the state electricity regulatory body, MERC, Mr Pandey said.
As per the new time table for load shedding, regions with minimum distribution and commercial losses of up to 18% would face load shedding of 3.45 hours. The load shedding would go up as the losses rise and could go up to 7.30 hours in regions with losses exceeding 50%, he said. The load shedding in agriculturally-dominated areas will be 12 hours flat.
The MahaVitaran chief, however, made it clear that the load shedding would be back in case the gap between demand and availability of power widens further. “We hope the situation doesn’t worsen. If it worsens, then we will have no option but to bring back planned power cuts,” he said.
Demand-supply gap has come down from 5,000 mw earlier to about 2500-3,000 mw, helping MahaVitaran to reduce load shedding
Zero load shedding in Pune, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Baramati also likely to be restored immediately on acquisition of required electricity by concerned parties
Load shedding in agriculturally-dominated areas will be 12 hours flat, according to the new schedule
source economictimes epaper
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Old September 24th, 2008, 12:33 AM   #37
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Swiss company to set up textile machinery plant in Maharashtra

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Mumbai, Sep 23 (IANS) Reiter Group of Switzerland Tuesday announced that it will set up a Rs.2.5 billion plant to manufacture cotton spinning machinery near Pune.An agreement was signed in Zurich Monday between Maharashtra Chief Secretary Johny Joseph and Reiter India directors Peter Gnaegi and Micheal Enderlse.

Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, currently on a 10-day European tour to garner investments, and Reiter Group chief executive Hartmut Reuter were present on the occasion, Deshmukh’s aide told IANS here.

Reiter India has been operating in India since 1995 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reiter Group, which is in operation since 1795 with facilities in 20 countries worldwide.

Deshmukh explained to his hosts that textile production is over 2,000 years old in Maharashtra, particularly the art of weaving Paithani saris in silk and gold threads, which is renowned worldwide.

He also referred to the famed Mashru and Himru fabrics of Aurangabad, which are made of cotton and silk with the lustre of satin.

Reuter said Reiter Group considers India as a key market and its innovative momentum has been a powerful driving force for India’s industrial progress.

Reuter declared that the company would bring a majority of its products to India for local manufacturing, including latest technology incorporating a high degree of localisation and adaptation to suit the needs of Indian customers.

This is Dehmukh’s fifth foreign trip in past four years, accompanied by a high-level business delegation to seek mega investments for the state.


http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/..._10099057.html
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 01:43 AM   #38
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Rs 2,000 cr foreign investment likely in Maharashtra

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MUMBAI: Maharashtra government said foreign investment worth Rs 2,000 crore was likely in the state. Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who returned f
rom an official tour to Europe earlier on Thursday, told reporters here that eight MoUs were signed during the visit.

The Rieter Group of Switzerland would set up a Rs 350- crore cotton spinning machinery manufacturing unit, he said. The Outokumpo company would set up a Rs 300-crore coil and plate service centre near Mumbai, he said.

The Schlumberger group would invest Rs 900-crore in an engineering and manufacturing unit in the SEZ near Pune, he added.

Italian vehicle manufacturer Piaggio would set up Rs 450- crore unit at Baramati in Pune district, Deshmukh said.
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/...ow/3553451.cms
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 07:35 AM   #39
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First helicopter pilot training centre coming up in Gondia

Nagpur, Oct 2 (PTI) Country's first helicopter pilot training facility centre will be operational by December at Rajiv Gandhi National Aviation Institute in Gondia, Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel said today.
"The helicopter pilot training facility is part of the institute's ambitious project to impart training to pilots," Patel told PTI today.

He said under the Rs 400 crore project, the institute was already imparting training (theory) to trainee aircraft pilots and actual flying would commence from December this year.

The project is a joint venture of CAE Canada along with Air India, Airports Authority of India and Pawan Hans.

Thirty training aircraft are being inducted in the institute and it will be fully operational soon, Patel said.

Patel said as part of UPA government's policy of promoting and developing smaller airports and connectivity, Mumbai will be connected with Nanded, Latur, Nashik and Solapur.

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh will launch the service of Mumbai-Nanded flight on October 4, he said.

Of the proposed Air India cargo hub in Nagpur, Patel said it would start functioning by this year end and transfer of Nagpur Airport from AAI to Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation, which will develop the hub, will be done in a month, Patel added.

http://www.ptinews.com/pti%5Cptisite...F?OpenDocument
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Old November 17th, 2008, 07:00 AM   #40
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Maharashtra: A haven for SEZ’s?

Maharashtra: A haven for SEZ’s?
A week ago, the high-level board of approvals headed by commerce secretary G M Pillai approved two more special economic zones, one in Chandrapur and the other in Amravati district, which takes the total number of SEZs in Maharashtra to 140.

The Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) had submitted a proposal to set up a multiproduct SEZ at Nandgaonpeth in Amravati. MIDC will invest Rs 2,020 crore for the project, which will be developed on 1,010 hectares of land and generate employment for 25,000 people. The Wardha Power Corporation had submitted a proposal to set up a power SEZ (400 MW) at Warora in Chandrapur. It will require 100 hectares of land and investment of Rs 2,161 crore.

Significantly, these two SEZs will be commissioned in a time-bound period, since the promoters are in possession of land. At the last meeting of the board of approvals, the Centre had decided that approval will be granted to only those promoters who are in clear possession of the entire land required for the SEZ.

Following the approval of the two SEZs, the total number of SEZs in the state has crossed the mark of 140. These SEZs will require 50,000 hectares of land, while the investment will be nearly Rs 1.35 lakh crore and it will generate employment for 62 lakh persons.

Meanwhile, the industries department official said, four SEZs__Essel Infrastructure, India Bulls, Supreme and Videocon (Pune)__will be delayed due to non-acquisition of land following agitation by the local farmers. Even the Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance's SEZ in Raigad district is embroiled in a row over land acquisition.
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