Refining capacity: Over a barrel

Global refining capacity is in a state of flux. Here's the complete picture.

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MoEF grants conditional go ahead to Lavasa

“In view of the investments made and taking note of the hardships faced by the petitioners (Lavasa) and pending construction work of 257 buildings, which are above plinth level, construction is permitted with some conditions,” deputy director of the MOEF said

Mumbai: The Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) on Wednesday granted ‘conditional’ permission to Lavasa Corporation to complete its under-construction buildings at its housing project site near Pune even as the realty firm backtracked on its plea to withdraw the petition challenging the stop-work notice issued by the ministry, reports PTI.

According to the affidavit filed by the MoEF before the Bombay High Court, its expert committee has “permitted” the Lavasa Corporation to complete construction of 257 buildings which are above the plinth level at its hill city.

“In view of the investments made and taking note of the hardships faced by the petitioners (Lavasa) and pending construction work of 257 buildings, which are above plinth level, construction is permitted with some conditions,” the affidavit filed by deputy director of the MOEF said.

Simultaneously, senior counsels Mukul Rohatgi and Janak Dwarkadas, appearing for Lavasa, told the high court that the petitioner would like to withdraw its petition challenging the stop-work notice issued by the MoEF last year.

They told the court that Lavasa would pursue its application filed before the MoEF seeking clearance for the housing project coming up in Pune district.

Lavasa, however, backtracked after the division bench of justices Ranjana Desai and RG Ketkar refused to lift the stay on the stop-work notice. The bench said let the MoEF hear the Lavasa’s application and take a final decision on it.

“Initially, we (Lavasa) had said that the MOEF has no jurisdiction to issue stop-work notice. But today, we agree that clearance from the ministry is required. Lavasa is losing Rs5 crore everyday since the construction has been stopped.

Till date, the loss has been Rs300 crore,” Mr Rohatgi submitted.

Lavasa Corporation, a subsidiary of Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), had challenged in the Bombay High Court the 25th November notice of MoEF for not obtaining mandatory permission under the Environment Protection Act before starting the project in 2004.

Lavasa had claimed in its petition that it is a tourism project and was based on the state hill tourism policy, formulated by the state government, allowing the Rs2,000 crore project to come up.

Additional Solicitor General Darius Khambata appearing for MoEF said “The experts’ committee formed to look into the issue has already submitted its report reaffirming the stop work notice. There are several violations. Let Lavasa approach the ministry, which would hear the matter and give its decision. It might lead to prosecution or penalty or clearance.”

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Cautious opening likely for Indian stocks: Thursday Market Preview

Japan’s manufacturing output plunged to a two-year low in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake earlier this month worried investors about the time required for the country to recover from the losses

The Indian market is likely to see a cautious opening today as its Asian peers were mixed in early trade as Japan’s manufacturing output plunged to a two-year low in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake earlier this month. Earlier, the US markets logged modest gains on Wednesday and are poised to post their best quarterly performance since 1998. The SGX Nifty was up 12 points at 5,825 compared to its previous close of 5,813.

Meanwhile, domestic triggers for today include expiry of the March futures and options contract and weekly food inflation data. Besides, today is the last day of the financial year 2010-11.  

The upmove in the Indian market continued on Wednesday with the Sensex opening at 19,179, 58 points above its previous close and the Nifty 20 points up at 5,756. The US markets were strong on Tuesday. The uptrend in the Asian space emanating from the optimism that Japanese factories have resumed production after the devastating earthquake earlier this month, spurred investor sentiment in the domestic market. Institutional buying pushed the indices further northwards as trade progressed. All sectoral indices were in the positive zone in morning trade.

The indices touched the day’s high minutes after 1pm, with the Sensex at 19,357 and the Nifty scaling 5,803. However, profit booking amid choppy trade led the market to its intra-day low at 2.20pm. The Sensex fell to 19,179 and the Nifty was at 5,754 at the day's low.

Another bout of buying in the last half hour pushed the indices marginally higher and they closed in the green for the seventh consecutive day. The Sensex settled 169 points higher at 19,290 and the Nifty ended 51 points up at 5,787 as the benchmarks logged their best closing since 13th January.

Share prices are in an overbought zone and are due for a correction. Besides, the exceptionally strong showing will be tested on Thursday and Friday, after the derivatives of March and the financial year are over.

Markets in the US closed higher on Wednesday and are poised to log their best quarterly performance since 1998. The gains came on positive data from the jobs market, an indicator that the economy is slowly picking up. The ADP Employer Services report on Wednesday showed companies hired 201,000 workers in March, marking the third time in four months that the nation added more than 200,000 jobs.

Among corporates, Cephalon soared 28% after Valeant, Canada’s biggest drug maker, offered to buy the Frazer, Pennsylvania-based company for $73 a share in cash. AT&T gained 2.2% on the Dow as the company said the acquisition of Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile USA would boost network capacity and improve service for devices such as iPhone. Chemicals company DuPont gained 1.43% after it extended its $6 billion takeover bid for Denmark’s Danisco.

The Dow rose 71.60 points (0.58%) to 12,350.61. The S&P 500 added 8.82 points (0.67%) to 1,328.26 and the Nasdaq gained 19.90 points (0.72/5) to 2,776.79.

Asian markets were mixed in early trade on Thursday as the Japanese market was lower following a report that Japan’s manufacturing output plunged to a two-year low in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake earlier this month. The Markit/JMMA Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) fell to a seasonally adjusted 46.4 in March, the lowest since April 2009 and down from February’s 52.9. The index slipped below the 50 threshold that separates contraction from expansion for the first time in three months, while the extent of the drop from the previous month exceeded those seen after the attacks of 11 September 2001, and the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Meanwhile, China is likely to face pressure from countries like the US, India and Brazil to allow a stronger yuan during the Group of 20 (G20) finance chiefs who are meeting in Nanjing, China, for a seminar initiated by French President Nicolas Sarkozy on reshaping the global monetary system.

The Hang Seng gained 0.40%, the Jakarta Composite rose 0.35%, the KLSE Composite was up 0.34%, the Straits Times climbed 0.27% and the Seoul Composite added 0.02%. On the other hand, the Shanghai Composite declined 0.10%, the Nikkei 225 lost 0.03% and the Taiwan Weighted was down 0.02%.

Back home, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday directed IT major Mahindra Satyam to deposit Rs350 crore with Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and also issue it bank guarantee of Rs267 crore in its ongoing tax dispute with the Income Tax (I-T) department. The CBDT has demanded Rs617 crore from the company as tax.

Mahindra Satyam chairman Vineet Nayyar had earlier said that CBDT turned down its requests not to impose the tax, as calculations were based on previous management's accounts, which had proved to be fictitious.

The I-T department’s tax claim is based on Rs345 crore foreign tax credit availed by the former management of Satyam Computer Services headed by Ramalinga Raju during 2002-08, which the present management believes is forged.

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