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Jindal Power, Hindalco bag one coal mine each in latest auctions

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

In the latest round of coal auctions held by government on Saturday, the Tara coal block in Chhattisgarh was awarded to Jindal Power and the Dumri block in Jharkhand sent to Hindalco.

“Hindalco is highest bidder at Rs.2,127 (per tonne) for Dumri and Jindal Power at Rs.126 (per tonne) for Tara coal block,” Coal Secretary Anil Swarup tweeted, as bidding ended. This final bid cost works out Rs.9.800 crore for the Tara block and Rs.2,100 crore for Dumri.

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India-Africa summit: Africa’s growth to be fructified

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New Delhi: India’s pledge at the recently held India Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) in New Delhi is set to influx Africa’s projected growth. The summit aims at promoting the Public Private partnership Programmes (PPP) across the continent work. Experts say that this might result in a slew of initiatives like power projects to generate 2,600 GW over the next decades, and also a progressive movement in the area of agriculture, healthcare and telecommunications.

Indications that the private sector in India is aware of the opportunities that Africa has to offer can be summed up from what Vijay Kumar Chohan, executive director for international operations at Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, had to say: “There are immense opportunities to the tune of 2,600 GW over the next 10 years which would result in a number of transmission line projects.”

There are also indications that some African countries would like to get into generating electricity from coal. Given this, it is encouraging that India’s coal secretary, Anil Swarup, said that the country has targeted the doubling of production to one billion tonnes per year by 2020 and thereby increasing generation by 50 percent that year.

African countries, experts say, can take forward Swarup’s thoughts that India would be keen to partner with the continent to explore business opportunities in the coal sector by way of exploration, mining, development of projects and mines by Indian companies.

Agriculture offers another great opportunity. With a large pool of unemployed youth, Africa can take advantage of its improving investment climate to attract Indian money to grow its agriculture. International accounting firm KPMG said that “the potential growth in the agricultural sector on the continent is huge. Agricultural growth in Africa has failed to reach its potential.”

The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) says: “The value of Africa’s agricultural output is about $280 billion and has the potential to reach $800 billion by 2030,” adding: “It could address a major problem in Africa by providing economic opportunities for the 200 million people between 14 and 24 years old that make Africa home of the youngest population in the world.” Thus, there are many who feel that changes in governance and an improved investment atmosphere can help attract private Indian capital.

And, amid indications that the continent’s largest economy, Nigeria, is turning towards China to help develop the country’s agriculture, Indian companies also have the opportunity to engage in large-scale agricultural projects.

In the health sector, Nigeria alone is said to have lost close to $2 billion annually to India as a result of an inadequate health delivery sector.

KPMG Africa chairman Oluseyi Bickersteth told IANS: “In 2012, about 40 percent of all visas to India from Nigeria were for medical tourism and Nigerians spent about $260 million on medical expenses in India.”

Bickersteth said: Indian involvement in Nigeria’s healthcare delivery is gradually increasing after a lull in the 1970s when most of the Indian medical officers operating in the country left. However, the new interest in Nigeria has been bolstered by the Indian government’s announcement last January to set up two specialist units for eye and cancer care.

The telecom sector is another area that is looking for investors across the continent. Therefore, experts say, with the Indian government keen to improve the poor balance of trade with African countries, an improved political atmosphere backed by right policy frameworks would be the magnet to attract Indian companies.

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SC coal bench to decide Manmohan Singh plea

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NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi:  The cases whether the allocation of 15 per cent of Talabira II Coal Block to Hindalco by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was beyond the case covered under the coal block allocation scam would be decided by the coal bench of the Supreme Court, said the apex court on Wednesday.

A bench headed by Chief Justice HL Dattu said that the matter will be listed before the coal bench of Justice Madan B Lokur, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice AK Sikri.

“The matter would be listed before the coal bench, you persuade then that it did not fall within the category of the coal scam cases,”Chief Justice Dattu told senior counsel Kapil Sibal as he sought hearing of the matter next week.

However, when senior counsel Harish Salve appearing for industrialist Kumarmangalam Birla and Hindalco told the court that these were batch matters and sought their hearing post-Diwali holidays, the chief justice asked both Salve and Sibal to decide the date among themselves and the matter will be heard accordingly.

Manmohan Singh and Birla have moved the apex court for quashing criminal proceedings against them for alleged wrongdoing in the allocation of the Talabira-II coal block in Odisha to Hindalco in 2005.

The apex court on April 1 had stayed the summons issued on March 11 against Manmohan Singh and Birla by the special court holding trial of coal scam cases. It had also stayed further proceedings in the matter.

The apex court, on April 1, had also stayed the summons to former coal secretary PC Parakh, D Bhattacharya and Hindalco.

Birla has challenged the constitutional validity of section 13(1)(d)(iii) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988. The special court had summoned Manmohan Singh, Birla and others after it rejected two closure reports by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

(With inputs from IANS)

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8 coal mines to be auctioned after 10 in Round 3: Coal secretary

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Image courtesy Firstpost
Image courtesy Firstpost

New Delhi: The government will put eight more coal mines up for auction after completing the process for 10 mines in the third phase in mid-August, Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said on Wednesday.

“After these 10 mines (in August), eight more mines are in the queue,” he told reporters here on the sidelines of a conference on minerals and metals organised by a business chamber.

“We have more and more mines coming in so that they would suffice for other sectors also,” he said.

Swarup also said that in view of the need to step up India’s coal production to 1.5 billion tonnes by 2020, there is a plan to hire manpower for mining.

“As far as 1.5 billion tonnes of production is concerned we have a full-fledged HR plan of having manpower to mine these mines,” he said.

The third round of coal mine auctions for 10 blocks will be held from August 11 to 17.

Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said last month that the government will open more than 60 coal mines across the country in the coming days.

He had said the new mines were part of the overall plan for state miner Coal India to double its current production of 500 million tonnes per annum in five years to reach the country’s total production target of 1,500 million tonnes by 2020.

Coal India achieved a record 32 million tonnes increase in production in the last year, which led to a 12 percent increase in power production, the minister said.

(IANS)