Parliamentary panel peeved about environmental delays to coal projects

New Delhi: A parliamentary panel has expressed shock over the delay in forest clearances to 59 coal projects, hurting production targets by companies, engaged in coal mining reports PTI.

"The committee is shocked to observe that the inordinate delay in getting forest and environment clearances has been badly affecting the coal production target by the coal companies," said the standing committee on coal and steel.

The committee is constrained that as many as 59 coal projects have been held up for want of forest clearances, it said adding, "The committee deprecate that the (coal) ministry has failed to act as a facilitator on behalf of coal companies for getting necessary clearances from different agencies."

The country's largest producer, state-owned Coal India, which accounts for more than 85% of the domestic production, has already lowered its coal production target for the 2011-12 to 486 million tonnes from 520 million tonnes earlier mainly in view of such delays.

Coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, in a report on status of implementation of the recommendations of the committee said,"...It is a fact that forestry clearances are getting unduly delayed..."

However, he said, these issues have been taken up at highest level and both the coal and forest ministries are meeting frequently to resolve the issues.

"Further, the issue of forestry clearances is also being addressed at the level of Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to resolve the pending issues concerned with different ministries.

The coal and mines ministries are at loggerheads on the issue of classification of coal mining belt into 'go' and 'no-go' areas which saw the ministries of coal and environment locking horns.

As per such a classification, about half of the coal bearing forest area of nine coalfields has been declared no-go area, due to which, the coal ministry says, the country could see a coal shortage of 500 million tonnes in next few years.

Mr Jaiswal had earlier expressed hope that, "A solution is expected before Coal India's initial public offer is launched." CIL is slated to launch its four-day public offer on 18th October.

The issue is billed to be India's biggest till date and may raise up to Rs15,000 crore.

Last month, after PMO's intervention, a high-level inter-ministerial panel had recommended that mining can be allowed in as many as 77 coal blocks that were made no-go affair by the environment ministry.

Now, as many as 126 blocks are in the 'no-go' area against the earlier 203.


Mundra Port starts operations at Gujarat's new terminal

New Delhi: Adani group firm Mundra Port has commenced operations at its 20-million tonnes port at Dahej in Gujarat, reports PTI.

The port will cost a total of Rs1,150 crore, almost half of which has already been infused.

"Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone (MPSEZ) announces commencement of operations of the dry bulk cargo port at Dahej," the company said in a statement here.

The port is being set up by Adani Petronet Port Pvt Ltd in a joint venture with Petronet LNG at a cost of Rs1,150 crore. Petronet, which owns 24% in the joint venture, is already operating an LNG import terminal at Dahej, along with a berth for ships.

The operations at the port started with the arrival of the first ship (M V Sesa Star Cosmos) today containing a consignment of coal docks at Dahej.

"With the commencement of operations at Dahej, it would be the second operational port in Gujarat for MPSEZ and the only one which has become operational in the private port category in the last 4-5 years," it further said.

The infrastructure sector-focused group is increasingly looking to acquire coal assets overseas to feed its power generation capacity.

Adani Enterprises, the flagship company of the group led by billionaire Gautam Adani, had posted an over three-fold jump in profit to Rs407 crore for the first quarter of the current fiscal, mainly due to strong performance by its non-core businesses including the power segment.

Earlier this month, Adani Enterprises, which is the country's largest coal importing company, sealed an ASD 3 billion deal to buy the coal assets of Australia's Linc Energy, to support its plan to expand power generation capacity to 20,000 MW by 2020.

It was recently awarded preferred proponent status for developing the Dudgeon point terminal in Macay, Queensland, Australia.

The company has also entered a $1.65 billion tripartite pact with an Indonesian firm to source coal. Its subsidiary, Adani Power, is working on 4,620-MW project in Mundra, Gujarat. It has also announced two power projects in the state, at Hazira and Dahej.


Reliance Life rates high on customer satisfaction: Survey

New Delhi: Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) company Reliance Life Insurance has been awarded a high rating in customer satisfaction for the third year in a row, reports PTI quoting a survey.

"Reliance Life Insurance Company, part of Reliance Capital, has been awarded a high rating for the third consecutive year in Nielsen's pan-India customer satisfaction survey," Reliance Life said in a release.

According to the survey, conducted between April and May this year, Reliance Life Insurance scored a good rating in customer satisfaction, which is close to excellent.

"The Nielsen rating and findings are encouraging for us.

The survey indicates that we have been consistent in our efforts to understand the customer and improve our service standards," Reliance Life president and executive director Malay Ghosh said.

The methodology used for the Nielsen eQ survey was quantitative in nature and have taken into account the views of 1,806 customers and 822 advisers for Reliance Life Insurance. The study was done using face-to-face interviews with customers and advisers across the country.

Nielsen eQ system assesses the impact of customer loyalty and provides insights into how an organisation can creatively respond to market changes in order to attract and retain its most valuable customers.

"In an intensely-competitive market, service can be a key differentiator. With this in mind, we engaged the Nielsen Company to conduct a satisfaction survey across the country as we are mindful of the challenges that await us in continuing to maintain high satisfaction scores in the face of rising expectations," Mr Ghosh said.

Reliance Life, which has completed three years of independent customer survey by Nielsen, has decided to increase the frequency of customer survey from yearly to quarterly basis for mapping the pulse of discerning customers.

"The objective behind the quarterly measurement of customers and advisers' satisfaction is to move towards excellence in services," he added.


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