Normal transportation to start in Mumbai harbour by 15th Aug

New Delhi: Mumbai harbour, which has been affected by the recent oil spill, would be cleared for transportation by 15th August, reports PTI.

"There is no oil spill off the Mumbai coast. When I contacted the Indian Coast Guard, they told me that Mumbai harbour would be cleared by 15th August and normal transportation restored," environment minister Jairam Ramesh told Lok Sabha in a suo motu statement.

He said 32 ships would be start moving by August 15. The ships were stranded due to the collision between container vessel MSC Chitra and another vessel Khalija-111.

Mr Ramesh said, "The fishermen have already been issued advisory to avoid fishing activity till 15th August as there are still 200 containers floating on the sea water."

Though this matter comes under the purview of shipping ministry, Mr Ramesh said he was making the statement due to environmental concerns.

He said the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board has collected water samples for testing and already lodged a case under the Environment Protection Act 1986.

However, the entire salvage operation would take 45 days, he added.


Inflation to be 6% by Dec; growth to be 10% soon: Montek

New Delhi: The Planning Commission today said inflation will come down from the double digits level to about 6% by December and the growth rate will climb to 10% in the near future, reports PTI.

"Around December, the wholesale price index (WPI) on a year-on-year basis would be close to 6 per cent. There is already some softening taking place. A lot of action that is taken is slowly going to roll out," Planning Commission chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told reporters here.

Overall inflation, which has been in double digits for the last five months, was 10.55% in June.

"Indian can achieve 10% economic growth in the near future… that is going to happen anyway, we have to get the governance right" he said.

The Indian economy grew at above 9% between 2005-06 and 2007-08. After slowing down in 2008-09 and 2009-10, it is projected to expand at 8.5% in the current fiscal.

He said the impact of the monetary policy action taken by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its policy review last month will be visible only after four months.

"Monetary policy takes about four months to have an effect. Whatever was done last week, its main impact would be felt in October," he said.

The RBI, in its first quarter policy review, had raised the short-term lending (repo) and borrowing (reverse repo) rates by 0.25% and 0.50% respectively.

It, however, kept the cash reserve ratio-the portion of deposits banks are required to keep with the central bank in cash-unchanged due to the difficult liquidity position in the markets.

About further monetary measures by RBI, he said, "It is like driving a car in Chandni Chowk. What you have to do three minutes later depends on what is happening to the traffic. I believe that they (RBI) are moving in the right direction."

He said a normal monsoon and adequate foodgrains production, coupled with the food stocks released by the government, would help cool inflation going forward.

"We have released more food and also monsoon is normal.

Food production situation is good... that, combined with action we have already taken, will help reduce inflation," he said.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had earlier said more fiscal and monetary steps could be taken to ease inflation.

The government has taken a host of fiscal measures to maintain adequate supply of food items, including a ban on export of non-basmati rice, wheat and sugar. At the same time, imports of deficient food items like pulses and edible oil have been made duty-free.

The prime minister has projected inflation to fall to 6% by this year-end, while most policy makers pegged it at 6%-6.5% by the end of this fiscal.


Railways post earnings growth of 6.59% in Apr-Jul period

New Delhi: Indian Railways has posted a growth of 6.59% in its earnings during the first four months of this fiscal.

During April to July, its earnings stood at Rs29274.55 crore as compared to Rs27464.14 crore during the same period last year.

Out of the total earnings, goods earnings went up to Rs19796.56 crore during this period, which was an increase of 7.07%, said a release issued by the Railways.

Likewise, the total passenger revenue earnings during first four months were Rs8162.13 crore compared to Rs7792.58 crore during the same period last year, thus registering an increase of 4.74%.

During this period, about 2598.01 million passengers booked ticket as compared to 2454.34 million during the same period last year, the release added.


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