Monday, May 3, 2010

GK UPDATE

Arrested cleric ran Lashkar's Nepal hub

An alleged LashkareTaiba

operative held on Thursday

ran a logistical hub that funneled dozens of jihadists

through Nepal to targets across in India, Delhi Police

sources have said. Working with fugitive Lashkar

commander Mohammad Saifullah, Biharborn

Nepali

national Mohammad Omar Madani provided Lashkar

operatives with passports, cash and communications

facilities that allowed them to travel from Pakistan to

India through Kathmandu — and then secure their escape.

Fahim Arshad Ansari, who is now being tried on charges of having generated the videotape

that facilitated the training of the perpetrators of November's carnage in Mumbai, is among

those alleged to have benefited from the logistical infrastructure Madani had set up. Madani's

journey into the Lashkar, Delhi police sources said, began after he tapped Nepali Islamists for

funds to expand the familyrun

ShamsulHuda

seminary at Kalyanpur, in Nepal's Saptari

district.

Nepalbased

Jamaat AhleHadis

activists Abdul Khaliq and Mohammad Haroun are alleged

to have put Madani in contact with the Markaz Dawat wal'Irshad —the name used by the

LashkareTaiba's

parent organisation, the JamaatudDawa,

prior to its proscription by

Pakistan in 2002.

According to the Delhi police, Madani first attended the Markaz's annual rally at Muridke,

near Lahore, in 1997. He met with Markaz Chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed as well as key

military commanders ZakiurRahman

Lakhvi and then incharge

of operations targeting

India, Mohammad Azam Cheema. Delhi police sources said Madani had visited Pakistan at

least twice in recent years and met Saeed on both occasions. He also spent time in Qatar

raising funds for Islamist causes in Nepal. Police believe Madani recruited upwards of two

dozen residents of the IndiaNepal

borderlands to the Lashkar. Among them is Kamal Ahmed

Ansari, who is now being tried for his alleged role in the 2006 bombing of Mumbai's

suburban train system.

Speaking to journalists in New Delhi, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram described

Madani's arrest as "a measure of the good intelligence and good investigative work done by

our intelligence agencies and police."

26/11: Advani seeks inquiry commission

Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha L. K. Advani on Friday demanded that the

government must set up an inquiry commission to look into "what went wrong where" and

suggest measures to prevent recurrence of terror strikes such as the 26/11.


 

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However, Home Minister P. Chidambaram later turned

down the demand. He said to ask for a commission of

inquiry six months after the event was "surprising."

Mr. Advani said the Mumbai attack was an "invasion of

India" launched from Pakistan. The government must share

with the House the evidence handed over to Islamabad. He

accused Pakistan of launching a "proxy war" against India

after its defeat in three wars.

Mr. Advani said the trial of Ajmal 'Kasab', the lone

captured terrorist involved in the November 26 terror attacks

in Mumbai, should be expedited. Mr. Advani disagreed with the conclusions of the Pradhan

Committee of the Maharashtra government that the Mumbai attacks were a "failure" of the

Centre only and that the State authorities were not to blame.

Talking to reporters outside the Parliament House, Mr. Chidambaram said: "I don't think

there is a need for a commission of inquiry. We are not going to appoint it. We have all the

facts on the 26/11 attacks. I have shared it with the House. Besides, I would like to ask, did

the NDA government appoint a commission of inquiry after Kandahar? Did they appoint a

Commission of Inquiry after Parliament was attacked? I don't think that these kinds of

statements are going to help the situation."

Seven firms blacklisted by Defence Ministry

Defence Minister A.K. Antony has directed that acquisition from

seven companies, including foreign suppliers such as Israel Military

Industries and Singapore Technology, be "put on hold" till further

orders.

The order, part of the steps to ensure zerotolerance

towards

corruption in procurement, came after these companies figured in the

first information report filed by the CBI, Kolkata, in the case against

the former DirectorGeneral

of Ordnance Factory Board, Sudipto

Ghosh.

Besides IMI and Singapore Technology, the companies blacklisted

is HYT Engineering,

T.S. Kishan and Co. Pvt. Ltd, R.K. Machine Tools, BVT Poland, and Media Architects Pvt.

Ltd Singapore, Defence Ministry principal spokesman Sitanshu Kar said here.

Mumbai SEZ faces heat as SC refuses stay plea

The Supreme Court declined to stay the land acquisition proceedings in respect of the

Mumbai SEZ Ltd., promoted by Mukesh Ambani. The company had pleaded for stay of the

acquisition process on the ground that the compensation award for the farmers had not been

passed within the stipulated period of two years from the date of notification of the

acquisition, namely, June 8, 2007.


 

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A vacation Bench of Justice B. Sudershan Reddy and Justice Aftab Alam dismissed a special

leave petition filed by Mumbai SEZ and Dilipkumar Vitthaldas Dherai against an interim

order of the Bombay High Court that refused to stay the process of land acquisition. The

Bench in a brief order said "we are not inclined to grant any relief."

Mr. Bhushan sought the stay on the land acquisition proceedings initiated by notifications

under Sections 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act

on the ground that if the acquisition was not

completed by June 8, the entire process would lapse.

Mr. Rao said the company had deposited Rs. 110

crore with the State government towards

compensation to be paid to the farmers and "we want

the court to protect the interests of both sides."

Senior counsel Rakesh Diwedi, represented the

farmers and senior counsel K. V. Viswanathan

appeared for the intervening nonconsenting

farmers.

Counsel for Maharashtra submitted that interested persons were not coming forward to the

court.

The MSEZ, which was to come up in 10,000 hectares at an investment of about Rs. 40,000

crore, filed a writ petition before the High Court for a direction to the State government to

complete the land acquisition process and notify the compensation award for the farmers. The

High Court refused to grant relief and the present SLP is directed against that order dated

May 22.

Tata Steel sales volume up 18% in May

Tata Steel said its sales volume surged by 18 per cent to

4.69 lakh tonnes in May on the back of robust demand

from auto and construction sectors. In the corresponding

month last year, the company's sales stood at 3.97 lakh

tonnes, the steel major said in a statement. During the

month under review, Tata Steel saw its saleable steel

production surging by 23 per cent to 5.01 lakh tonnes as

against 4.08 lakh tonnes. The sale of long products, mainly

used in construction industry, increased by 34 per cent while that of flat items, used by auto

and consumer durable sectors, increased by nine per cent, over the yearago

period. Tata

Steel's crude steel output for the month went up by 17 per cent to 4.86 lakh tonnes from 4.16

lakh tonnes, while hot metal production rose by 19 per cent to 5.28 lakh tonnes from 4.43

lakh tonnes.

The company claimed that one of its steel melting shops in Jamshedpur achieved bestever

May production at 2.18 lakh tonnes. Also, a merchant mill recorded bestever

May

production of 30,710 tonnes over 28,505 tonnes the same period last year.


 

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The output of its hot strip mill and new bar mill also registered an impressive growth over

May 2008, it said. After commissioning a new 1.8million

tonne blast furnace at its

Jamshedpur works unit, Tata Steel is in the process of enhancing its production capacity to

10.5 million tonnes by 2010.

At present, the company's Jamshedpur plant has a capacity to produce 6.8 million tonnes of

steel annually. In addition to increasing the capacity of its existing unit, the steel major is in

the process of setting up greenfield projects in Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.

While in Jharkhand it proposes to invest about Rs 42,000 crore for a 12million

tonne

integrated steel plant, in Orissa it intends to pump in nearly Rs 22,000 crore for a sixmilliontonne

unit. The steel major also plans to invest Rs 18,000 crore for setting up a fivemilliontonne

steel plant in Chhattisgarh. For all the proposed greenfield projects, the company is in

the process of acquiring land and mineral linkages.

Suzlon ups stake in REpower to 90.72%

Wind turbine maker Suzlon Energy today said its stake in Germany based

REpower Systems AG has increased to 90.72 per cent, with the

acquisition of Martifer Group's 14.4 per cent stake in the company.

Suzlon has completed "the acquisition of Martifer Group's stake in

REpower Systems, with a final payment of 87.6 million euro (Rs 574.48

crore)," Suzlon Energy said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.

With the conclusion of this transaction, Suzlon now holds approximately 90.72 per cent of

shares and voting rights in REpower Systems, it further said.

Prior to this transaction, Portugalbased

Martifer had held about 14.4 per cent stake in the

Hamburgbased

REpower Systems and Suzlon acquired it in a twopart

payment plan. The

purchase of Martifer's stake in REpower by Suzlon was agreed in February 2007 at the time

of the joint bid by Suzlon and Martifer.

The Puneheadquartered

firm had paid 65 million euro as the first tranche in December last

year, hiking its stake in REpower to 73.1 per cent. This is final tranche of the 270 million

euro that Suzlon had agreed to pay to buy Martifer¿s 22.4 per cent stake in REpower

Systems. On Friday, shares of Suzlon Energy closed at Rs 130.90, down 4.31 per cent on the

BSE.

GMR Infrastructure net profit up 33%

GMR Infrastructure, the flagship company of GMR Group, said its consolidated net profit

rose by 6.43 per cent to Rs 53.24 crore in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2009, over the

same period last year. The company had a net profit of Rs 50.02 crore for the quarter ended

March 31, 2008, GMR Infrastructure said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.


 

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"Despite the recessionary trends in the economy and the effects

of the global meltdown, the GMR Group has been able to

demonstrate peak revenue growth, spotless project execution,

improved operational efficiency and timely funding for all its

projects and acquisitions," GMR Group Chairman GM Rao

said.

The total income of the company rose to Rs 1,327.07 crore in

the quarter ended March 2009, from Rs 905.19 crore in the

same period last year. The company posted a net profit of Rs

279.45 crore, up 33 per cent from Rs 210.08 crore for the year ended March 31, 2008.

The total income has increased from Rs 2,364.53 crore for the year ended March 31, 2008, to

Rs 40,40.37 crore in the 2009 fiscal.

Shares of GMR Infrastructure were trading at Rs 179.75, up 1.27 per cent on the BSE.

SIDBI gets $400 million loan from World Bank

The World Bank inked an agreement with India to lend $400 million

to Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), which

provides lowcost

finance to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The finance ministry, which represented the government, said the loan would go to a project

implemented by SIDBI aimed at fostering growth and competitiveness in small and medium

enterprises, besides creating jobs.

This is part of the extra funds that the government had sought from the World Bank even as

the international body enhanced its loan disbursements by $20 billion in the financial year

ending June and by another $100 billion from the year starting July.

The SIDBI project on SME financing and development had earlier received a $120million

loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)—one of the

five arms of the World Bank. India now borrows about $1.52

billion from the IBRD, which

is to be repaid with interest.

The additional IBRD loan is being taken by Sidbi directly from the World Bank with a

guarantee from the Government of India, the ministry said in an official release. The loan

amount was doubled to $400 million from the original SIDBI demand owing to the enhanced

credit requirements of SMEs in the economic downturn.

The finance ministry is in talks with the World Bank for more funds for other financial

institutions too. That might take some more time as they are firsttime

loans, a senior official

said.


 

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The World Bank is disbursing an extra $100 billion to various countries over three years from

July onwards. India also avails loans under the World Bank's International Development

Assistance. It is an interestfree

loan, which has to be repaid along with a processing fee.

Now India borrows about $1.6 billion a year under this window, which is likely to be

doubled.

This will help scale up the fullydisbursed

original project, which had been approved by the

World Bank on November 30, 2004, the bank had said in a statement when the loan was

approved on April 30. World Bank Country Director for India Roberto Zagha had then said

the project is part of a larger programme of support in response to India's request for funding

in light of the financial crisis. "It is targeted particularly at SMEs, to help address the credit

slowdown that has resulted from the financial crisis," he said. "Achieving and sustaining

growth and employment will require a sharp stepup

in industrial and services growth. This

needs to be spurred by SMEs which have the greatest potential to provide employment," he

said.

The credit facility supported by the project will channel longterm

and working capital loans

for SMEs—which contribute about 45% of India's manufacturing output—in geographical

areas beyond those that were covered in the original project. This includes expanding to new

geographical areas, possibly to India's lowgrowth

states, thereby promoting inclusive

growth.

Government lines up Rs 1 lakh crore for Metro projects

The government will pump in over Rs 1 lakh crore in the Metro

rail projects that are under consideration for major cities in the

country. Currently, Metro rail projects are in progress at various

stages in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, while

projects are under evaluation for Pune, Lucknow, Kochi,

Ludhiana and Jaipur among others.

With increasing number of projects under implementation for modern mass transportation,

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is now eyeing to offer its consultancy to other

nations.

Managing Director E Sreedharan of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said: "DMRC

will expand its network to 190 km by 2010, making it one of the largest networks in the

world. Metro rail projects are progressing in various other cities, where we are expected to

pump in Rs 1 lakh crore in the days to come. India will require 250300

coaches per year."

Mr Sreedharan was in Vadodara to roll out the first metro coach manufactured at

Bombardier's facility at Savli near Vadodara. He added that with the increasing scope of

work, the cost of executing Metro projects has gone down 45%,

despite the surge in inflation

in recent years.

Commenting on the viability of Metro project in Ahmedabad, he said that it can be viable

only if extra land can be accessed for the commercial development. It may be recalled here


 

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that the Gujarat government formed a company Metrolink

Express for GandhinagarAhmedabad

(MEGA) with share capital of Rs 200 crore.

Meanwhile, DMRC is also eyeing consulting projects overseas. Mr Sreedharan said that

countries in South East Asian region are seeking the expertise of DMRC. "We have been

approached even by Pakistan and I, along with my team members, visited Lahore recently.

Some of them are even pursuing us to take the responsibility of project execution also, but we

lack necessary resources and trained manpower for the same. Indonesia for Jakarta and Syria,

too, have approached us," said Mr Sreedharan. Sri Lanka is also very keen for support from

DRMC and the corporation recently sent its team to study the plans there.

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