Citizens' Issues
Mangroves: Court slams Mira-Bhayander Corporation
A bench of Justices VM Kanade and A M Badar slammed the Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation for the proposal to cut down mangroves for pre-monsoon clean up.
 
The Mira Bhayander Municipal Corporation (MBMC) had approached the Bombay High Court for permission to cut the mangroves in the Mira-Bhayander area. The corporation had undertaken the activity of the pre-monsoon clean-up and claimed that the mangroves were an obstruction to clear the sludge and debris dumped in the creeks.  
 
The bench said, “The Corporation seemed to be only interested in removing mangroves so that unscrupulous builders can usurp land.”
 
Previously, the corporation had filed an application to the court, which had given permission to “trim” mangroves, only if it was absolutely necessary, and to conduct a survey to give the exact number of mangroves which would have to be cut for the clean-up. The court also gave a timeline of one week to complete the cleaning and present the survey. Neither did the corporation complete the clean-up nor did it present the survey in a week, saying that the cutting of the mangroves is essential for the cleaning.
 
The Bombay Environmental Action Group (BEAG) has pointed to the success of the cleaning methods used for the Mithi River, which did not harm the trees there, and suggested that the MBMC could do the same.
 
Mr Debi Goenka, a senior most environmental activist and a member of the BEAG, explained that BEAG had filed public interest litigation in October 2005 to protect the mangroves, because of which the court's permission is required before cutting down mangroves. 
 
The bench has directed the forest department to supervise the corporation’s work and asked the police and the civic authorities to ensure that real estate developers in the area do not dump construction debris into the drains and water bodies.
 
Previously, the Bombay High Court had given permission to the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Limited (MMRCL) for clearing 108 mangroves in the Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) area for the construction of the BKC metro station, which falls under the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz metro plan. The court stated that it took a pragmatic view of this case as the metro was a “necessity for the city.” 

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COMMENTS

Silloo Marker

4 weeks ago

Thanks to people like Mr. Debi Goenka, there are still some mangroves left in the mud-flats around the city. This man deserves to be honoured for his relentless efforts to save the environment and for taking on the authorities who seem to only care about development without any consideration for conservation of nature. The ecological balance of nature also depends on the mangroves, where fishes breed, giving livelihood to many small fishermen. Mangroves also save the coastline from the ocean's fury especially during stormy weather. If we are still able to survive in this city where greedy builders eye every patch of open land, it is thanks to the efforts people like Mr. Debi Goenka. Moneylife, which encourages activists in all domains, could perhaps invite Mr. Goenka to interact with people. A session with youngsters in schools and colleges who are going to be the future of this country could be most useful.

Corporate debt contraction and deleveraging continues
The recent corporate results for about 3,000 listed entities suggest the increase in outstanding loan funds at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 8% or so during FY2017 over FY2015. However, there is a contraction in loan funds outstanding for top corporates in FY2017 compared with previous year, either through repayment, equity conversion or restructuring of debt, says a research report.
 
In the note, State Bank of India (SBI) says, "The outstanding loan funds as on FY2015 stood at Rs22.8 lakh crore increasing to Rs26.5 lakh crore in FY2017. The loan funds outstanding stood at Rs24.2 lakh crore in FY2016. However, we also observe that some top notch corporates reported contraction in loan funds outstanding in FY2017 over FY2016. About 1,000 entities in aggregate, excluding banks and finance companies, reported decline in loan funds to the extent of Rs1 lakh crore. The debt contraction could either be through repayment, equity conversion or restructuring of debt. The top ten entities, saw decline of about Rs33,000 crore."
 
 
According to the report, some of the best known companies that have lowered loan funds include GAIL (-48%), Piramal Enterprises (-37%), National Fertilizers (-37%), L&T (-24%) Hindalco (-20%) and Jet Airways (-22%). Cumulatively, the amount is about Rs20,000 crore. It says, "This could either be perceived as lower debt utilisation levels or prepayment through internal accruals or through asset sale. The reasons could be many, including QIP or private equity participation."
 
Talking about financial performance for FY16-17, SBI says, "We find EBIDTA (midline) exhibiting a double digit growth in most of the top 10 sectors, depicting all round growth in top-line, midline and bottom-line. A normal monsoon can see agrochemicals sector bloom. Capital Goods (Electrical Equipment) topped growth in EBIDTA and PAT margins. Agrochemicals and Capital Goods (Electrical Equipment) are the sectors one may monitor for growth in the coming days."
 

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English News channels in a state of flux
English language TV channels, it is believed, set the agenda for the nation and are viewed by everybody who matters. The viewership of these channels is miniscule as compared to general entertainment, sports or language news channels almost across the spectrum. And yet, social media debate would suggest that the nation is riveted on the daily dose of hectoring broadcasts and acrimonious ‘debates’ that pass off as news. 
 
A look at the numbers released by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India however suggests that the entire English news segment is in a state of flux, whether it is general news or business.
 
Consider the 24th week data released today by BARC India. After its big bang launch a few weeks ago and the further surge for a couple of weeks after, the gap between Republic TV and TimesNow is shrinking.  Maybe because the channels are increasingly looking like clones of one another with similar shrieking debates and virtually the same set of panellists. Even their newsbreaks are on similar issues – corruption and shenanigans of opposition parties or about Pakistan. 
 
The 2nd June week data (week 24) released by BARC India shows RepublicTV ahead with 963,000 impressions, but TimesNow is snapping at its heels with 935,000. India Today is a distant third with 317,000 impressions. The big surprise is that NDTV has fallen out of the top five, to be replaced by BBC World News at 4th spot (250,000 impressions), followed by CNN-News18 at 5th , with 247,000 impressions.
 
 
A week earlier (week 23), Republic TV was significantly ahead at 1,054,000 impressions, with Times Now at 748,000 impressions. The battle for third and fourth spot is between India Today and CNN-News 18, with viewership in the range of 250,000 to 340,000 in the past three weeks, with NDTV just marginally behind. 
 
Given the distance between the top two (Republic TV and TimesNow), it seems rather ironical that India Today, NDTV and CNN New18 should have thrown a tantrum and switched off BARC India’s audio watermark that allows monitoring of viewership, along with TimesNow. This happened immediately after Week 20, when BARC announced RepublicTV’s entry with a massive viewership of 1,703,000 as against TimesNow’s 978,000 impressions. In week 21, RepublicTV maintained its 1,000,000 plus impressions, after which the channels quietly switch back the watermark that provides important viewership information to their advertisers. 
 
The English business news segment, which is essentially a two-horse race is seeing equal churn. 
 
The CNN-IBN group, expensively acquired by Mukesh Ambani, is a steady loser. After leading the field in business news for many years, CNBC TV18 is steadily losing out to ET Now from the Times group. The 24th week data (for June) shows CNBC TV18 (at 439,000 impressions), marginally ahead of ET Now (410,000 impressions); but this is not always the case. Last week (week 23), ET Now led with 420,000 impressions, with CNBCTV18 at 372,000. The week before (22week) saw CNBC TV18 slightly ahead at 390,000 impressions while ET Now was 357,000. But in week 21 it was the reverse. ET Now was ahead and in week 20 it was CNBC TV18. 
 
 
This means that there is no decisive leader anymore, in which case CNBC TV18 is a clear loser. Worse, none of the English language business channels seem to have gained any viewership at all with the shutdown of NDTV Profit a few weeks ago (in week 21), making you wonder who really watched the channel.  Some industry persons joke that a large chunk of the viewership of business channels is probably from news monitoring agencies who track information about corporate houses.
 
It is probably only a matter of time before ET Now decisively surges ahead of CNBC TV18, because of the sheer marketing muscle of the Times group as well as its ability and willingness to offer attractive editorial plus television coverage packages to a variety of advertisers, by leveraging the enormous strength of its newspapers.
 
It is said that those who advertise only on English channels still manage to get the attention of policy makers. So, tiny viewership numbers do not matter to them. However, shrinking viewer interest is bad news for all those who have invested in these channels, which are all listed companies. 
 

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COMMENTS

Simple Indian

1 month ago

True. Watching private news channels can give one high BP and even a heart attack some day !! They all have their own hidden agenda to promote / avoid certain news reports depending on who their patrons are, esp. politicians. Due to their herd mentality and oneupmanship game, private news channels, and mainstream media in general has lost its credibility to social media, which is a double-edged sword. But, quite often have found social media call out even seasoned 'journalists' for their fake news / doctored reportage or even outright lies. If social media weren't around, gullible viewers would end up believing whatever such delinquent media channels dish out to unsuspecting viewers. Media, like many other institutions (like politicians, higher judiciary) is self-regulated and hence has failed to curb this menace of fake news / paid news phenomenon, which is hurting its own turf.

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