Oil & Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has achieved highest natural gas production from its Gujarat gas fields for the month of November, a statement from the union ministry of petroleum and natural gas (MoPNG) showed. As against the planned monthly natural gas production of 95.87 million cubic meters (mcm), ONGC produced 153.992 mcm of natural gas from its Gujarat assets during November, achieving 160 percent of the planned production. This is the highest production achieved among other exploration companies in the country for the month. The overall planned target for gas production for November was 3427.831 mcm. This included production of coal bed methane (CBM). Exploration players including ONCG, Oil India and other private players or joint ventures achieved 3262.309 mcm of gas production, showing the overall shortfall of 5 percent from the planned production for all the players.
Automobile major Mahindra & Mahindra's (M&M) proposed Rs 1,800-crore testing facility at Cheyyar near Chennai was stuck as the government was yet to allot land for it. M&M stated that the inordinate delay was impacting its investments, including its plan to set up a Rs 4,000-crore car manufacturing plant, for which it had been considering many states, including Tamil Nadu. For the time being, M&M is doing the testing in a small-scale unit at Mahindra World City, 40 kms away from Chennai. When M&M signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Tamil Nadu government in early 2011, it said that the testing facility would be ready in 12 months. The company has asked for 400 acre of land, out of which, 150 acres is to set up the testing facility. The auto plant will come up on the remaining land, when it is acquired, although the company has not given any time-frame for it.
Bharti Airtel, the country's largest mobile phone company by customers and sales, has sought government's approval for testing voice services on its fourth generation networks. The move is significant as Reliance Industries-owned Infotel Broadband, the only company that has pan-India 4G airwaves, is set to get the telecom department's (DoT's) approval for testing voice services on this technology platform. Currently, Bharti is the only telco that has launched high-end data services on the 4G platform. Earlier this year, the company had bought a 49% stake in US chipmaker's 4G businesses in India to enable it to quickly launch services in four zones, including the key markets of Delhi and Mumbai, where it did not have 4G permits, making it a serious competitor to Infotel Broadband. Bharti now owns 4G permits in eight circles. It has already launched commercial operations on this platform in Kolkata, Pune and Bangalore.
The Karnataka government has approved the proposal of Karnataka Power Corporation ( KPCL), the state-owned power generator, to procure liquefied natural gas (LNG) for the first block of its proposed 700 Mw Bidadi Combined Cycle Power Plant (BCCP) through a 100 percent on spot market basis from Gas Authority of India (GAIL). The KPCL will execute a gas transmission agreement (GTA) with GAIL in the due course. As per the agreement reached between KPCL and GAIL recently, the KPCL agreed to lease 2 acres and 6 guntas of land for a period of 15 years at a lease rent of Rs 100 per acre per annum against which KPCL would be exempted from termination payment and bank guarantee to GAIL. The KPCL has proposed to take up the 1x700 Mw power project at Bidadi, about 32 km from here at an estimated cost of Rs 3,750 crore. It has acquired 70 hectares at Bidadi for the project.
The Debt Recovery Tribunal in Hyderabad has ordered Deccan Chronicle and its three promoters to furnish security of about Rs 347 crore, equivalent to the dues it owes to Canara Bank, before January 21. The tribunal stated that if the publisher of Deccan Chronicle, Financial Chronicle, Asian Age and the Telugu daily Andhra Bhoomi does not comply, its assets could be attached. It also directed the company not to transfer its properties in favour of third parties in the meantime. Deccan Chronicle has defaulted on loan repayments and its founders - Tikkavarapu Venkattram Reddy, T Vinayak Ravi Reddy and PK Iyer - are the subject of a criminal complaint for pledging shares which were already pawned. Canara Bank is also conducting a forensic audit of the company's accounts to check for potential fraud.
Russian and Indian companies including Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and JSC Helicopters have signed three different agreements to set up joint ventures and strengthen technology partnerships. These agreements were inked on the occasion of the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to India. Tata Consultancy Services and Russian firm Navigation Information Systems (NIS) signed a strategic cooperation agreement to establish and strengthen technology partner relations between the two enterprises in software development, systems integration, professional services for and marketing of NIS products.
IT hardware maker HCL Infosystems has partnered ESi Acquisitions to distribute the US-based firm's crisis information management software (CIMS) in the country. The two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to co-operate for joint initiatives and the partnership is expected to create new market opportunities and contribute to the expansion of the crisis management solution market in the country.
Maruti Suzuki has no intention of taking back any of the 500-odd workers sacked for the July 18 carnage at its Manesar plant even as the Haryana Police has charged only around 150 workers. The company will not take them back as it has eyewitness accounts that all of them were involved in the July 18 rampage at Manesar, which left one senior manager dead and nearly 100 injured. The company went in for the mass layoffs after accumulating evidence against the workers. Maruti's refusal to take back any of the fired staff is, however, objected to by the company's labour union, which has been demanding the re-instatement of a majority, especially after they were not even named in the charge sheet filed by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed to probe the matter. Maruti Suzuki has raised doubts over the findings of the SIT probe, which had stated that the violent events at the plant were not instigated from outside, but were due to internal issues between the management and workers.
The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (ATE) has dismissed the petition of Tata Power Company (TPC) challenging the Maharashtra electricity regulator's order on imposing cross subsidy surcharge from high billing consumers, who have migrated from RInfra to TPC. Tata Power had challenged the Maharashtra Electricity Regulator Commission's (MERC) order, which allowed Anil Ambani-led RInfra to collect cross-subsidy surcharge from its high-billing customers, who have migrated to rival Tata Power in the interest of the consumers as well as the licensees. In a September last year, the MERC had stated that if high-end consumers of a supplier move to another one under open access system, they will have to continue to cross subsidize the lower-end consumers of their previous supplier. Under the cross-subsidization regime, consumers with higher power usage compensate for lower costs per unit charged from those consuming less than 300 units a month.
Three state-run firms, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam, NMDC and MOIL, under the Steel Ministry are looking to acquire iron ore assets in Brazil, the world's second largest exporter of the steel-making raw material. NMDC has already started due diligence in a couple of mines in the Amapa province. The Steel Ministry has initiated talks with the Brazilian authority for identifying potential targets for the other two for acquisition. All three companies are eager to have their presence in the mineral-rich Latin American nation, be it by way of acquiring stake in a company having operative mine or out-rightly buying a yet-to-be-developed mine. Manganese-ore maker MOIL has recently been mandated by the Ministry to increase production to cater to the growing needs of the steel industry. Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma has asked the company to look for acquisition of mines abroad for increasing both production and turnover.