Economy
Non-subsidised LPG, non-PDS kerosene, jet fuel rates hiked
New Delhi : State-run oil marketers on Sunday hiked prices of non-subsidised cooking gas, non-PDS (public distribution system) kerosene and aviation turbine fuel (ATF), following their increasing petrol and diesel prices late on Saturday night.
 
The price of non-PDS kerosene has been increased by nearly Rs.3 per litre. It now costs or Rs.49.10 a litre in Delhi as against Rs 46.17 earlier.
 
The price of non-subsidised cooking gas, which consumers buy after exhausting their quota of 12 cylinders per year, has been raised by Rs.18 per 14.2-kg cylinder. It now costs Rs.527.50 in Delhi as against Rs 509.50 previously.
 
The hike comes after three straight monthly reductions. Prices were last cut by Rs.4 on April 1.
 
Rates vary according to different local levies.
 
The price of aviation turbine fuel (ATF), or jet fuel, was also increased by 1.5 percent.
 
ATF price in Delhi was hiked by Rs.627 per kilolitre, or 1.48 percent, to Rs.42,784.01 per kl. It follows a much steeper hike of 8.7 percent, or by Rs.3,371.55 per kl on April 1.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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Mumbai Hotel Industry hit by water crisis
Appeals to the Maharashtra Chief Minister to resolve the water supply crisis
 
The hotel industry in Mumbai heavily relies on the water supplied by private tankers, in addition to what it gets from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation. On average, hotels in Mumbai required 50-60 tankers each day to meet its operational needs. However, the Mumbai Water Tankers Association is has now gone on an indefinite strike. As a result, hotel operations throughout the city have been severely affected. Hotels, dependent on tankers, have not received any water supply through tankers for over 24 hours. This is affecting many critical areas, according to industry sources:
 
Fire Safety: Hotels are forced to use the water stored in our fire water tanks to meet operational requirements.
 
Hygiene & Sanitation: Water supply is now restricted for toilet flushing, showers, washbasins, laundry and kitchen usage.
 
Food preparation: Restaurants are being shut down in order to conserve water used in kitchens.
 
Guest facilities: Swimming pools and fitness facilities in hotels have been closed due to lack of water.
 
The industry argues that guests in Mumbai are global citizens and investors with business dealings. Besides, hotels are also committed to hosting many important events and conferences over the next few weeks. The current lack of water supply will cripple the operations. It remains to be seen whether this is high enough in the priority of the state administration given how bad the drought situation is across the state 

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Timber cartels in Himachal causing huge losses, says auditor
Shimla : The cash-strapped Himachal Pradesh State Forest Development Corp Ltd had accumulated losses of Rs.52.75 crore till the end of fiscal 2014-15 due to cartelisation by purchasers, the Comptroller Auditor General of India (CAG) has said.
 
The CAG said the cartels resulted in the loss of Rs.18 crore on sale of deodar alone in the timber surplus state.
 
The corporation incurred continuous losses during the last four years ended March 2015 and its accumulated loss increased from Rs.31.66 crore in 2010-11 to Rs.52.75 crore in 2014-15, according to a CAG report.
 
Commenting on the scale of the losses in the sale of timer, the auditor said the comparison of rates of timber obtained in auction vis-a-vis market rates during 2010-2015 showed differences ranging between 60 and 105 percent which indicated that the corporation is not receiving competitive rates in auctions.
 
Directing the government to go for e-auction to attract more bidders and to counter cartel formations, it said the bidders are currently getting huge margins either due to limited competition or a cartel formation.
 
"Had the attempts been made to realise better sale rates through wide publicity the corporation could have earned additional revenue of around Rs.18 crore on sale of deodar timber only (which constitutes 8.62 per cent of total volume) after allowing a margin of 50 per cent to cover the selling expenses and profit."
 
It said against constant increase in retail sale rates (during 2013-14 the rates were not revised by the corporation) the rates obtained during auction decreased during 2014-15 as compared to the 2013-14.
 
Taking over of uneconomical lots of trees which were in difficult areas in contravention to the guidelines resulted in avoidable loss of Rs.1.52 crore on account of interest on royalty, extension fees and royalty paid on rotten trees, the auditor pointed out.
 
Picking holes in the timber grading, it said only 0.5 per cent was graded 'A'.
 
"There were no checks on the process of classification and potential revenue loss assuming 25 percent wrong classification works out to Rs.71.64 crore."
 
The corporation, which enjoys monopoly in extraction and sale of timber, in its reply to the auditor in October last year said its suggestions and recommendations would be incorporated in the new policy on timber marketing.
 
Himachal Pradesh is a storehouse of biodiversity and is most vulnerable to climate change as the Himalayan glaciers have been retreating due to global warming.
 
According to a Forest Survey of India report of 2011, out of the state's geographical area of 55,673 sq.km, 3,224 sq.km is under very dense forests, 6,381 sq.km under moderately dense forests and 5,074 sq.km under open forests. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

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