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NTPC, Coal India and BEL may witness some action today

The coal ministry has asked NTPC to re-locate its proposed Rs 12,000 crore power plant in Jharkhand to a nearby site to free six billion tonnes of reserves that will be trapped under the project. The coal ministry has moved the Union Cabinet Committee of Infrastructure seeking directions to NTPC to shift the proposed 1980-mw coal-based North Karanpura project about 20 km away from the present site at Kan ahakala village in Jharkhand. The ministry has moved the note that will now be circulated to other ministries for their comments. The move is in line with the recommendations of a sub-committee headed by Planning Commission member B K Chaturvedi that was formed to resolve the issue. NTPC, however, has been opposing the re-location proposal since it has invested about Rs 150 crore on the project. The company has proposed that the coal reserves can be exploited after the power project completes its life of 30 years.

State-owned Coal India (CIL) is in the process of finalizing document for developing 27 mines, with 136 MTPA capacity through outsourcing to increase output. Of the identified mines, 12 are underground and 15 are open-cast mines. The Coal Ministry had earlier stated that it has sought the expertise of the Finance Ministry with regard to the bidding documents for selection of mine-developers and operators for certain CIL mines. CIL, which accounts for over 80 percent of domestic coal production, missed its production target and produced 431.325 million tonnes (MT) of coal last fiscal, against the revised target of 440.20 MT. Besides, a wholly-owned subsidiary of state-run Coal India has hit coal seams during exploration in Mozambique. Coal India Africana, which had drilled four boreholes in the southeast African nation, has hit coal in all four of them, making it the subsidiary's first success overseas.

Public sector defence major Bharat Electronics (BEL) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to work together on the future of Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR-SAM) ship defence system projects. The LR-SAM is an over $500 million joint venture with Israel. This will help the Indian Navy to protect its warships from incoming enemy cruise missiles and fighter aircrafts. Earlier in November, BEL entered into agreement for 10.5 MW project with Suzlon. The project is set to be commissioned in the Davangere district of Karnataka by end-FY13. Bharat Electronics was set up at Bangalore by the Government of India under the Ministry of Defence in 1954 to meet the specialised electronic needs of the Indian defence services. Over the years, it has grown into a multi-product, multi-technology, multi-unit company serving the needs of customers in diverse fields in India and abroad.

The country's largest car maker Maruti Suzuki India has launched a limited edition of its hatchback A-Star that will be costlier by Rs 14,990 than the existing variant. The price of A-Star varies between Rs 3.76 lakh and Rs 4.61 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). To bring vibrancy and excitement to the market, Maruti Suzuki India has introduced limited edition of A-Star, christened as A-Star Aktiv. The limited edition A-Star Aktiv is available in Vxi and Vxi AT variants. The company has brought in this limited edition with some new features to entice young customers. The petrol-driven car is powered by a 998 cc K10B engine and offers a mileage of 19 km per litre.

US-based food producer and marketer Cargill India has acquired the iconic Sunflower Vanaspati brand from Wipro, consolidating its leadership position in the market with the purchase of the brand built by the Bangalore-based company decades before it emerged as an IT major. The acquisition of the popular six-decades-old western Indian brand is expected to bolster Cargill's consumer brand portfolio and expand its market reach. Since 2007, Wipro has been trying to get out of its traditional edible oil business, started by Azim Premji's father Mohammad Hussain Hasham Premji in 1949 at Amalner, in Jalgaon district. Besides, Wipro's arm - Wipro Technologies has launched 'SmartOffers', a location based solution for banks, in partnership with Intuition Intelligence. SmartOffers primarily targeted at retail banks, will help increase coupon redemption rates significantly by delivering the right offers to the bank's customers over the mobile or the Internet. The solution leverages Wipro's mobile-based applications IP, data models and partner's algorithms to deliver highly targeted offers. Wipro is working with Intuition Intelligence who has a patented machine learning algorithm that applies rapid real time learning to target coupons.

Punj Lloyd Group has bagged project worth Rs 528 crore from the Singapore Prison Services to construct the new Prison Headquarters of the Changi Prison Complex. The Singapore Prison Service is a government agency under the purview of the Ministry of Home Affairs. As a key member of the Home Team of the government of Singapore, its responsibilities encompass the safe custody, rehabilitation and aftercare of offenders, and provide preventive education. As per the Letter of Award (LOA) received from the Singapore Prison Service, Sembawang Engineers and Constructors (Sembawang), a Punj Lloyd Group company, will execute the project for the construction of four buildings and several ancillary buildings, substantial earth works with retaining walls, road widening and external work. The project will be completed over a period of 24 months.  When completed, the new Prison Headquarters will provide office facilities, a multi-purpose hall, club house and auditorium.  With this order, the total order backlog for the Punj Lloyd Group on a consolidated basis is Rs 25,941 crore, reflecting the total value of unexecuted orders as on September 30, 2012 plus orders received after that.

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) has told the Oil Ministry that its proposed Rs 24,000 crore refinery at Barmer in Rajasthan will be unviable unless it is given all of the crude oil that Cairn India produces from oilfields in the state. HPCL last week asked the ministry to give firm allocation of Rajasthan crude oil for at least 10 years for it to begin work on the 9 million tonne a year refinery. Cairn produces about 175,000 barrels a day or 8.75 million tonne a year of crude oil from its Mangala and other fields in the Rajasthan block. Going forward the firm is projecting an output of 300,000 bpd (15 million tonne). But the approved plateau is only 175,000 bpd and there is no certified data available to state that this level will last for the next 15 years (five years for refinery construction and 10 years allocation as requested by HPCL).

Telecom gear maker Alcatel-Lucent will supply equipment to Bharti Airtel for its mobile broadband data and video services in Africa. Alcatel-Lucent will supply advanced new IP (Internet Protocol)-based networking technology to support Bharti Airtel in delivery of new mobile broadband data and video services in Africa. This new backbone network will support all mobile broadband services to Airtel's 17 affiliates across Africa - serving 60 million customers as well as interconnection to global networks including the UK. On the other hand, even as the government is hopeful of implementing free roaming in the country from next year, Bharti Airtel has stated that issues like varied spectrum pricing and tariff in different circles need to be studied before introducing such facilities.

Budget airline SpiceJet has launched its second international flight from Kochi connecting Dubai. SpiceJet is offering a daily direct flight from Kochi to Dubai and an inaugural low ticket fares of Rs 4,999 (one way fare inclusive of all taxes). At present, SpiceJet operates direct daily flights to Dubai from Delhi and Mumbai. The airline would also launch a flight to Dubai from Ahmedabad later this month. SpiceJet has been working on new destinations in the domestic market and international routes as it has set its sights on expanding coverage in phases on a regular basis. The airline has already announced that it will launch Delhi-Riyadh and Delhi- Guangzhou flights from coming month. With these new routes, the total number of international destinations on SpiceJet network would increase to six. At present, SpiceJet operates flights to Kathmandu (Nepal), Colombo (Sri Lanka), Kabul (Afghanistan), Dubai (UAE) and Male (Maldives).


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