Goa Pollution Board issues show causes notices to 40 mining companies

The mining companies have been accused of extracting ore much beyond permissible limit

Panaji: The Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) has issued show-cause notices to 40 mining firms for allegedly extracting ore much beyond permissible limit, reports PTI.

These companies have been asked why appropriate action under relevant laws should not be initiated against them. They have been given three dates, 11th, 13th and 16th April to appear before the board with relevant documents and submit their replies, a GSPCB official said on Friday.

The mines found to be extracting ore in excess of their stipulated limit will have their consent under Water and Air Pollution Control Act revoked, the official said.

Several mines in the state have been under the scanner for allegedly extracting ore beyond permissible limit set under the Environment Clearance (EC) issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).

Goa has 90 operational mining leases, which tapped 43 million tonnes of ore during the last financial year.


Viom plans to run 30% of towers on alternate power resources

TRAI, in a report, had also said in the next five years, at least 50% of rural towers and 33% of urban towers are to be powered by hybrid power or renewable energy technologies

New Delhi : As part of its efforts to create a 'green' mobile network and reduce carbon footprint, telecom infrastructure company Viom Networks aims to run about 25%-30% of its towers on alternate resources in the next two years.

"We are targeting to run over 2,000 towers on solar power in the next two years. Our target is to run over 25%-30% on alternate energy sources in the same period," Viom Networks President Umang Das told PTI.

The company operates over 38,000 towers in the country. He added that their solar-based projects have resulted in reduction of diesel consumption by around 50%. Viom has conducted electrolysis-based fuel cells trials and is also exploring the possibility of using piped natural gas to run their sites.

"The outcome of all these initiatives is very encouraging and these are being appreciated by our customers," he said.

According to estimates, the Indian telecom tower industry has about 3.5 lakh towers and over Rs8,500 crore is spent a year on diesel to run these sites.

"Diesel is an expensive fuel with high cost of movement as well as storage that brings with it issues of safety and misuse. It is almost four times the cost of electricity board power supply," Mr Das said.

Increasing price of diesel and its misuse adds to the expenses of running the towers, say analysts.

Sector regulator, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has also made recommendations to promote use of energy efficient technologies to reduce carbon emissions.

TRAI, in a report, had said in the next five years, at least 50% of rural towers and 33% of urban towers are to be powered by hybrid power (renewable energy technologies) by 2015.

Further, all telecom products, equipments and services in the telecom network should be energy and performance assessed.

The TRAI report has said while service providers should declare to the regulator the carbon footprint of their network operations they should also aim at reducing carbon emission for the mobile network at 8% by FY13 and 12% by FY2015.

According to TRAI, it is estimated that the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector worldwide is responsible for around 2% of global CO2 emissions and by 2020, this would increase to about 3%.

The total emission of the Indian telecom industry is estimated to be around 1% of the country's total CO2 emissions, according to the regulator.

However, the high initial capital to run telecom towers on alternate fuels acts as a deterrent.

"The high upfront cost and the accompanied technology risks have deterred roll outs and its large scale adoption," Mr Das said adding that continuity of service and affordability are major concerns on standalone renewable energy solutions.


PE investments fall by half during March quarter this year

There has been a dearth of mega deals during the March quarter, which was the main reason behind the decline in the overall PE deal activity

New Delhi: Private equity (PE) investment fell to $1.88 billion across 90 deals during the quarter ended March this year less than half compared to the same period last year, reports PTI.

This was the third consecutive quarter of deceleration, says a report from research firm Venture Intelligence.

During the first quarter of calendar year 2011, private equity firms had invested $3.61 billion across 107 transactions.

Venture Intelligence said there has been a dearth of mega deals during the quarter, which was the main reason behind the decline in the overall PE deal activity.

There were six reported PE investments worth over $100 million and none above $200 million during the quarter ended March, compared to 9 such deals in the same period last year, which included five transactions over $200 million.

Healthcare and life sciences cornered bulk of PE investments as the sector attracted $581 million (31% of the value pie) across 14 investments during the period.

Three of the six investments worth over $100 million each during the quarter went into the hospitals and clinics sector. About $110 million was infused into Care Hospitals (by Advent International) and $100 million each invested into DM Healthcare and Vasan Healthcare (by Olympus Capital and by the Singapore Government-owned GIC, respectively).

Healthcare was followed by IT & ITEs companies with $308 million across 35 reported investments and BFSI (banking, Financial Services and Insurance) firms with $280 million across 11 investments.

The trend of the larger PE firms buying out the stakes of earlier PE/VC investors in Indian companies gathered momentum during the quarter.

The GIC-Vasan deal was one such case (which saw a part exit for Sequoia Capital India). The $104-million deal by General Atlantic in Fourcee Infrastructure also witnessed the complete exit for Mayfield, and the $50-million investment by Warburg Pincus saw part exit for Motilal Oswal PE.

Meanwhile, PE-real estate firms made 12 investments (amounting to $477 million across 10 deals with disclosed values) during the quarter ended March 2012.

The largest PE-realty investment announced during the first quarter of this year was GIC's $100 million investment in a Godrej Properties office project in Mumbai's Bandra Kurla Complex--the only deal over $25 million reported during the period.


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