Web-based ticket agents will not get access to tatkal bookings from 8am to 9am following complaints from passengers, who claim that agents corner tickets during this period
Railways have decided to bar web-based ticket agents of Indian Railway Catering & Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) from getting access to tatkal bookings from 8 am to 9 am after receiving complaints against them from people.
Passengers have been long complaining of the IRCTC website crashing as soon as the booking commences in the morning. There are complaints that agents corner tickets during this period and tatkal quota getting exhausted within minutes, said a Railway official.
"Taking such complaints into account, Railways have decided not to give the web-based agents and webservices agents of the IRCTC access to tatkal booking from 8 am to 9 am," he said, adding the decision will be implemented shortly.
The move will, however, be temporary in nature. "We want to give individuals a chance to book their ticket without any problem and if passenger complaints are addressed through this move we would implement the decision permanently," he said.
Indian Railways sees over 9.5 lakh booking across the country each day, 30% of which is done through the IRCTC portal. There are approximately about eight lakh agents under IRCTC.
According to reports, railway minister Mamata Banerjee was also believed to have asked the Railway Board to find ways to address the issue after being inundated with such complaints.
Tatkal tickets apart, IRCTC agents will also be barred from getting access to booking berths on trains on the first day of advance reservation period.
Advance reservation period opens 90 days in advance and the agents cannot have access to booking for the first hour on the opening day, the official said.
"With this move, we want to curb the menace of touting as passengers have often complained of," he said.
Railways have also launched special drive to get rid of touts resorting to irregularities at passenger reservation counters.
The problem is more pronounced during holiday seasons and festivals.
Reliance Power’s merger with RNRL will mean little to either companies. It also underlines how wrong the market can be about a stock’s value
Reliance Natural Resources (RNRL) stock plummeted 27.6% on Monday to Rs 46.4, from the previous day's closing price, followed by a further weakening on Tuesday. This follows what seemed to the market an unfavourable share-swap ratio in its merger with Reliance Power. An episode like this underlines how markets can be hugely wrong for a long stretch of time. Was the swap ratio really unfavourable?
RNRL has been trading at around Rs70 for the past few months. At its height in 8 June 2008, it traded at a price as high as Rs245. All this while RNRL has been a shell company with virtually no business, except some claimed prospects in coal-bed methane. Investors and punters were hoping that it would trade in gas and make huge money through what economists call rent-seeking. It was supposed to buy gas from Reliance and sell it to the gas-based power plants of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group. ADAG also showed a vague pretence to get into other resource businesses. One was cement for which it hired Anil Singhvi, former managing director of Ambuja Cement. But this was dropped after a year or so. Now comes the merger with Reliance Power which finally underlines that RNRL has no future on its own. It was born a shell and died a shell.
On Friday, the boards of RNRL and Reliance Power approved a merger. KPMG valued RNRL at Rs 7,157 crore, leading to a share-swap ratio of 4:1. The market expected a share-swap ratio of 3:1 based on the trading price of the two stocks.
RNRL had closed on Friday at Rs63.65 while Reliance Power was at Rs175.15. It was ridiculous for the market to value RNRL so highly in the first place. What begs the question is what does RNRL have by way of assets and revenues that it was valued at over Rs7,000 crore? On the other hand, didn't Reliance Power make India's largest and most-hyped public issue in January 2008 when it was a shell company but instantly entered all the major market indices and also the derivatives segment? The two are of a kind. Subsequently, Reliance Energy's power assets were shifted to Reliance Power to add some assets. Now RNRL gets erased.
The merger was the only way out for ADAG to allocate gas to Reliance Power as the government's gas-utilisation policy does not give priority to a gas-trading company like RNRL but to only actual gas users like power and fertiliser companies. This was again affirmed by the Supreme Court of India in May this year stating that the government has the right and power to set up the price and users for gas. This supposedly left no or little opportunity for RNRL which was set up five years before with the only purpose of procuring gas for Reliance Power.
The merger has salvaged RNRL at the expense of the shareholders of Reliance Power which plans to set up a huge 37,000MW capacity out of which 10,000MW of power will supposedly be generated from gas. The company is talking of setting up seven coal-fired power plants, two gas-fired units and seven hydroelectric projects.
The official reason for valuing RNRL so highly is that it has coal bed methane blocks with estimated resources of 193 billion cubic meters and an oil & gas block (RNRL holds 10% stake) with acreage of 3,619 sq km and reserve potential of up to 28 billion cubic metres. All these are currently estimates and ADAG's projections and estimates have proved to be notoriously fickle. The merger carries no synergy and erases another iffy chapter of ADAG companies.
Watch 17,900 on the Sensex for the up-move to continue
The market ended the trading session in the green on strong global cues. The Sensex settled at 17,614, up 173 points (1%). The Nifty was at 5,289, up 53 points (up 1%). The market pared early losses taking support from Asian markets, which staged an early recovery. The trend was upwardly biased, supported by a strong rally in IT and metal stocks.
Asian stocks rebounded, with regional benchmarks rising from their lowest levels in almost a month. Benchmark indices in Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea were up 0.5% to 1.4%. The Shanghai Composite index was up 1.9% and Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 1.2%.
US markets were closed on Monday for the Independence Day holiday.
Back home, the monsoon has covered the entire country around nine days ahead of schedule. It advanced into key grain-producing states of Punjab and Haryana on Monday, continuing a rapid revival after falling 16% below normal in June.
HSBC said that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) may deliver an overall 125 basis points (bps) hike in policy rates over the next 12 months with a 25 bps increase at the 27th July policy review. The RBI raised interest rates almost a month earlier than expected on Friday.
The finance ministry said that direct tax collections rose an annual 15.5% to Rs686.8 billion in the April-June period. Corporate taxes during the period rose 21.65% on the year to Rs434.4 billion.
Foreign institutional investors were net sellers of Rs220 crore in the equities segment on Monday. Domestic institutional investors offloaded stocks worth Rs51 crore.
Edserv Softsystems (down 3.4%) has decided to open its Qualified Institutional Placement (QIP) issue on 9th July. The minimum floor price for the issue has been fixed at Rs205 per share, higher than the price calculated as per SEBI (ICDR) Regulations, 2009.
Polaris Software Lab's (up 3.8%) group company, Laser Soft, has bagged a project from Andhra Pradesh State Co-operative Bank to implement core banking solutions in all its 22 district central co-operative bank branches spread across the State. The implementation will be executed through a unique multi entity CBS rebranded as 'Intellect Core Banking Solution'.
Indiaco Ventures (down 1.2%) has announced the launch of a 'Virtual VC Co-investment Fund' by community start-up funding company, Grow VC. The new co-investment fund is aimed at improving early phase funding and allowing venture capitalists to participate with a simple and cost-efficient model for finding great investment opportunities and managing multiple investments in these start-ups.
Tata Power Company (up 0.5%), along with its consortium partner Arrow Energy, has been awarded the Satpura coal bed methane (CBM) block in Madhya Pradesh during the CBM IV bidding round. The consortium had submitted bids for three CBM blocks during the bidding conducted by the Director General of Hydrocarbons (DGH) on 12 October 2009. On 24 June 2010, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved award of seven CBM blocks out of 10 offered in the bidding.