Punj Lloyd to bid for 25 highways next year

The company will bid for up to 25 national highway projects, valued at an estimated Rs40,000 crore, in the next one year

Infrastructure company Punj Lloyd Ltd said on Wednesday that it will bid for up to 25 national highway projects, valued at an estimated Rs40,000 crore, in the next one year, reports PTI.
"We will bid for 20-25 large national highway projects which will be a minimum Rs1,000 crore order (each). Overall, the order size could be about Rs40,000 crore," Punj Lloyd chairman Atul Punj said on the sidelines of a CII summit.

The company is currently executing seven highway projects across the country, he said. "As and when the tenders will keep flowing, we will bid for the project. The bidding for these 20-25 projects will probably happen in the next one year," Mr Punj added.

When asked about the company\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s exposure to West Asia in view of the Dubai crisis, Mr Punj said that about 30% of its unexecuted orders, mostly belonging to the oil & gas sector, were from that region and North Africa.

"We are unaffected by the Dubai crisis and West Asia does not mean only Dubai. We will keep working in the region," he said.

The company\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s current unexecuted order book stands at $5.50 billion, of which 30% belongs to South Asia, West Asia and India each, and the balance 10% is from the rest of the world.
 

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Sony ties up with top producers for content during weekdays

Sony is tying up with top producers to boost TRPs all through the week, rather than only during weekends. Ajit Thakur, executive vice president and business head of Sony Entertainment Television (SET) discusses with Pallabika Ganguly the new strategies his company is planning to adopt

Pallabika Ganguly (ML): What is Sony doing to grow its viewership category during the week?
Ajit Thakur (AT):
The weekend is our strength. ‘CID’ and ‘Aahat’ are our highest rated shows in the fiction category during weekends. Under the non-fiction category, ‘Dance Premier League’ and ‘Comedy Circus’ are doing well. That’s the part which works for us and we continue to consolidate that.

The problem for us is that every channel has 3+ television rating point (TRP) or 4+ TRP shows during weekdays, but from Monday to Thursday we do not have a single 1+ TRP show. We are working towards cracking the weekdays by telecasting good fiction shows. We are tying up with some top producers like Hats Off Production, Sphere Origin and DJ’s Creative Unit to create soaps and dramas. We are trying to create more contemporary stories and we will concentrate on coming up with hardcore fiction content during weekdays. We are very clear that we have to win this battle to become a number one channel overall and not only during weekends.

ML: What kind of content are you concentrating on? Which are the other genres you are looking at?
AT:
We are not looking at over-the-top dramas. We want to do shows which are good dramas with realistic characters. We are looking at the thriller and comedy genres also. We have just launched the horror genre of shows, which has worked very well for us.

ML: Even after the revamp, Sony is still not among the top three in the viewership list. Why has this happened?
AT:
During the revamp, a few things did not work out, but in the past five months, we have made a lot of progress. But Sony’s gross rating points (GRPs) have gone up from 80 to 190. We have doubled in the past five months and no other channel has grown so much.

ML: How do you see the content industry growing over the years?
AT:
The production industry will grow with many more channels coming into the market. Most of the original content is telecast between 8pm to 11pm and some (shows) are telecast during the afternoon. There will be growth—with more channels coming up, and the number of hours of original programming will also go up. In the current structure of the broadcasting business, there is no value model for production houses, so you need to cushion yourself from the cyclical downturns that every creative content company goes through.

ML: Do you feel that more and more film production houses are diversifying into the television content business? Is this the latest trend in the industry?
AT:
We are doing our biggest deal with Yash Raj Films (YRF) to produce exclusive fiction and non-fiction content. YRF will be producing five shows for us. Good content works in every platform and if you have proven credentials in films, you can obviously get into television content.

ML: How is Colors, which is just a two-year-old entertainment channel, so successful in its business?
AT:
  Colors has put in a lot of money into distribution to make sure that it has enough reach. It produced more realistic content which connected with the audience. It used a very good business strategy backed by a good programming strategy.

ML: How much do you expect television producers to grow over the next two years as a number of new producers are stepping into the industry?
AT:
I expect television production houses to grow between by 15%-20%. I foresee this because there is normal escalation happening by 7%, and content is becoming costlier day by day. More and more slots are opening up; this is attracting more new producers into the industry. Some of them will collapse and the rest—the really creative ones—will remain in the business and will definitely grow by 15%-20%.
 

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Lower sowing in Punjab, Haryana not to affect wheat production

The total area under wheat cultivation increased to 217.28 lakh hectares during 1st October to 10th December 2009, from 216 lakh hectares in the same period last year.

The Indian government on Wednesday said wheat sowing has fallen a bit in the key growing states of Punjab and Haryana but increased in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh and hoped the overall crop output would not be affected, reports PTI.

"Wheat sowing is slightly bad in Punjab and Haryana but progressing well in other states like Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh," minister of state for agriculture KV Thomas said on the sidelines of a CII event on agri-marketing.

The total area under the crop, sown from October to December, is better now compared to last year, he said. "We assume the overall situation of winter-sown crops—wheat, rice, mustard seed—is good," Mr Thomas said.

Official data show the area under wheat cultivation increased to 217.28 lakh hectares during 1st October to 10th December, from 216 lakh hectares in the same period last year.

Food minister Sharad Pawar on Monday said the country\'s wheat production is expected to surpass last year\'s all-time-high production of 80.58 million tonnes. "Wheat sowing has been progressing well. The acreage and the crop condition indicate that production will be more than (that of) last year," Mr Pawar said.
 

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