Kolkata: The union government is framing guidelines and rules for the proposed competitive bidding for auction of coal blocks, reports PTI.
"We are currently framing and drafting guidelines for auction of coal blocks and we hope to complete and begin the auction process in the next three to four months," coal secretary C Balakrishnan told PTI.
Parliament in August passed the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2010, which paved the way for introduction of auction through competitive bidding for allocation of coal blocks to private companies for captive use.
To encourage greater transparency, the Bill seeks to replace coal block allocation done by a government screening panel with allocation of coal blocks through auction.
At present, an inter-ministerial screening committee, which includes representatives from concerned state governments, allocates coal blocks to private firms engaged in generation of power, production of iron and steel, and some coal washeries.
Coal India, which is the country's largest coal miner, does not intend to participate in the forthcoming bidding and instead seeks preferential allotment to some blocks.
The country's coal demand in 2010-11, which is now pegged at 656.31 million tonnes, is projected to rise to two billion tonnes per annum by 2031-32.
Trade union leader R C Singh affiliated to CPI alleged sometime back that private sector companies had been sitting tight on 138 blocks of coal and that no one knew when they would start operation.
Several companies, which have no link with the power or steel sector, have also been allotted the blocks, he alleged.
Concerns were also expressed in several quarters for the degradation of environment and forests, as private companies which bagged the coal leases through auction, are likely to go for open cast mining.
Our approach to J&K can be more purposeful and helpful to the gentle - though misguided - people of the beautiful valley. The alternative is too horrific to even consider
Yesterday, we looked at how the security of well over a billion Indians cannot be jeopardised by the short-sighted suicidal attitude of a misguided few who espouse the Kashmiri secessionist cause
Let me recount an incident to keep things in perspective.
A friend of mine, Baksi, had recently gone to Pakistan and returned after a few days. He was sleeping at home and told his Kashmiri friend that he had had a dream about his visit to Pakistan.
This is what he narrated: The Indian armed forces had withdrawn and the Pak forces had occupied all of Kashmir. The occupiers were mostly Pathans, the Taliban and some Punjabi soldiers. There was a sprinkling of ISI agents.
Their leader, a Punjabi military officer in uniform, addressed a crowd at Lal Chowk. He spoke in Punjabi and did not know a word of Kashmiri. He said that they were happy to be in Kashmir after throwing out the Indian occupiers and hereafter the Kashmiris can feel safe as long as they obeyed orders and followed the new rules. He then narrated the new rules.
The highlights were:
The men will learn English to deal with tourists. They will keep their shikaras in good condition for tourists. Those who are educated will be given jobs as security men, chaprasis and clerks in Government offices. Higher posts will be reserved for Punjabis and Pathans.
There will be no schools or beauty parlours for women. They should stay at home and tend to the children and cook for the men.
No demonstrations or public speeches will be allowed. Those speaking against the Government will be tried summarily and jailed for five years. Human rights agencies will be treated similarly.
In all tourist infrastructure like hotels, lodges, restaurants, shikaras, taxis etc the locals will give a 50% share of ownership and earnings to the Pakistani officers.
At the end of the speech there was silence and some murmurs. The officer said in a loud voice that they should observe all the new rules if they wished to be safe in Pakistan or else they would be sent to India. There was loud cheering and the police fired in the air.
Thus ended my friend's recounting of the dream.
Hearing the firing, Baksi woke up from his sleep and the dream remained in his mind and he went to meet his friend and narrate the experience. He then asked his friend, "Do we realise the consequences of azaadi? Do we still want to agitate for it?"
(The writer is former SEBI chairman, former chairman-Disinvestment Commission and former member, Planning Commission of India)
New Delhi: Pharmaceutical major Ranbaxy Laboratories today reported a net profit of Rs312.80 crore for the third quarter ending 30th September, reflecting growth of 165% over the year-ago period, driven by balanced sales across geographies and favourable forex movement, reports PTI.
The company had posted a net profit of Rs116.6 crore in the July-September quarter last year, Ranbaxy said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).
Consolidated sales of the company also grew by 13% to Rs1,887.2 crore in the September quarter, from Rs1,720.5 crore in the same period last year, the filing added.
Commenting on the numbers, Ranbaxy managing director Arun Sawhney said: "Our key markets continued to perform well attributable in large measure to balanced sales across geographies. This has also been aided by the favourable forex movement."
Bolstered by the handsome quarter numbers, shares of Ranbaxy Laboratories soared by 3.45% to hit a 52-week high of Rs624.90 on the BSE in morning trade.