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Thursday, December 23, 2010

HC refuses to stay Environ Ministry order on Lavasa
The Bombay High Court today refused to stay the order of the Ministry of Environment and Forest asking Lavasa Corporation to stop the construction at its township near Pune.
The court, which was hearing the petition filed by Lavasa Corporation challenging the stay of the construction, directed the Ministry to take a final decision on the show cause notice issued to Lavasa by January 10. The High Court also asked the MoEF or the state-level Environmental Impact Assessment Committee to visit Lavasa before taking the decision. The court said Lavasa Corporation can challenge the final decision of MoEF subsequently if it is aggrieved by it.

Oil regulator puts Reliance on notice on gas pipeline
The Oil regulator PNGRB has virtually put Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) on notice by inviting bids for sections of two natural gas pipelines that were previously awarded to the Mukesh Ambani-run firm. The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) this month invited bids for two separate pipeline lengths down south, even though the question whether the regulator is empowered to give firms the authorisation to lay pipelines is to be decided by the Supreme Court.

Nevertheless, the PNGRB on December 15 invited Expression of Interest from parties interested in taking capacity in a pipeline from Chennai (in Tamil Nadu) to Nellore (in Andhra Pradesh) that Andhra Pradesh Gas Infrastructure Corp (APGIC) wants to lay, according to an advertisement by the Board.

NTPC in talks with Bangladesh agency for power project land 

The state-owned National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) is in talks with the Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) about water resources and land for a joint venture coal-based power project in Khulna in Bangladesh.

“We are having a 50:50 joint venture with BPDB for the Khulna power project. Currently, the feasibility study is being done,” said Inderjit Kapoor, director (commercial) in NTPC. A BPDB team is in Delhi to discuss the issues of water resources, infrastructure and land for the project, said Kapoor. The project is expected to generate 1,320 MW of power.

“The joint venture company will take the decision regarding the power sharing,” said Kapoor when asked whether the surplus power generated at the plant would be transmitted to India.

The NTPC in August signed a memorandum of understanding with BPDB to set up two coal-based power projects in Bangladesh, one in Khulna and the other in Chittagong.

$45 million World Bank loan for improving highways 
The World Bank has extended to India $45 million technical assistance loan to help strengthen institutional capacity of its National Highways Authority (NHAI).

The technical assistance loan from the World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development unit has a five-year grace period, and a maturity period of 18.5 years.

“This technical assistance loan will help NHAI adopt global practices that would enhance its operational efficiency as it implements this critical infrastructure programme,” said Venu Rajamony, joint secretary of the finance ministry’s department of economic affairs, after signing the agreement here.

Reiterating the government’s commitment to remove any constraints in road infrastructure, Rajamony said the government has entrusted the responsibility of improving the capacity of India’s core highways to the NHAI.

Indians among top spenders in Singapore
Indians spent a whopping USD 575 million, mostly in shopping, in Singapore during the first nine months of this year, city-state’s tourism board said today.
The spending puts Indian tourist in the third biggest money-spending position in the Singapore tourist market, after the Indonesians, who spent USD 1.58 billion and the Chinese who spent USD .95 billion during the January-September period.

The Indian tourist spending increased by 30 per cent year-on-year, the Indonesian 32 per cent and the Chinese 28 per cent, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said.

The Indians and Chinese tourists mostly spent on shopping while the Indonesians had healthcare-related expenditure, the STB said. Overall, the January-September 2010 tourism receipts was USD 10.5 billion, a 47 per cent year-on-year growth due to higher per capita spending, strong visitor arrivals, as well as contribution from the Integrated Resorts.

— Business Desk with inputs from PTI and IANS

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