Companies & Sectors
SC allows finalisation of telecom spectrum bids
The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the government to finalise the auction of telecom spectrum and announce the winners, but with a caveat.
 
The finalisation of the results will be subject to the outcome of the cases being heard by the apex court.
 
The telecom auction concluded on Wednesday after 19 days, with a total bid commitment of nearly Rs.110,000 crores from the eight players in the fray.
 
Recording submissions by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi and the rival counsel including P. Chidambaram appearing for mobile operators, the apex court bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Prafulla C. Pant in their order said: "We are inclined to modify our order and allow the Union of India to finalise auction and proceed further."
 
All the successful bidders shall be intimated that the auction will be finalised subject to the outcome of the hearing of matter by the court, the court said in its order. 
 
As the court appeared to relax its earlier order of February 26 restraining the government from finalising the bids, Chidambaram told the court that it was like pushing the envelope, inch by inch, towards their goal.
 
At the outset of the hearing, Rohatgi told the court that the auction was a tremendous success.
 
Seeking the modification of the February 26 order, Rohatgi told the court that the government could then persuade the successful bidders to make the initial payment which is Rs.28,000 crores and has already been factored into the budget.

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Ola Cabs to introduce 3,500 new taxis in Kolkata
Indian car rental aggregator firm Ola Cabs on Thursday said it is planning to increase its driver sign-ups in Kolkata from the current 1,500 to 5,000 in the coming three months.
 
"In the coming three months, our aim is to increase the number (of driver sign-ups) to 5,000 from the present 1,500," the company's head of strategic initiatives, Puneet Singh Arora, told media persons here.
 
The increase of the new sign-ups will result in addition of new 3,500 cabs meant for car rental in the city.
 
He said the car rental firm does not own the cars but signs-up with the drivers who are the actual owners of the cars. The company operates its services on a revenue sharing model.
 
It also has an auto-rickshaw rental service in seven cities.
 
"Nationally, we have over one lakh driver sign-ups, of which 80 percent are cars including sedans and hatchbacks and the rest 20,000 comprises of auto rickshaws," he said.
 
Arora said the organised car rental market in India is still at a nascent stage and comprises only 10 percent of the car rental market.
 
Asked if the company is considering launching auto-rickshaw rentals in Kolkata or expand to other cities, Arora said, "We consider introducing new services based on the city's requirements."
 
An official in the company said it is growing by 40 percent on a month-on-month basis and wishes to retain the momentum.

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Coal ministry eyeing 15-20 blocks for next auction round
The coal ministry is identifying 15-20 blocks for the next - third - round of auction, but cannot give a deadline for completing the process for all 204 blocks whose allotments were annulled by the Supreme Court, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said on Thursday.
 
"Fifteen to 20 coal blocks are being identified (for auction) and we are hopeful that the mining from these blocks could start soon," Goyal told reporters here after launching the ministry's coal project monitoring portal.
 
"I don't think that a timeline can be set for all 204 (blocks) because several of them are unexplored and several of them were alloted earlier based on irrational criteria. I would like to do the whole job very systematically," he added.
 
The government earlier this month completed the auction of 33 coal mines in two rounds.
 
On Tuesday, as per the privisions of the coal ordinance now made into law by parliament, the government allotted 37 mines to central and state-run power units, and one to the Steel Authority of India Ltd.
 
In a statement later, the coal ministry said that the "e-CPMP (online coal project monitoring portal) has been developed for tracking projects that entail an investment related to coal" and will "improve the communication between industries to government, government to government, or vice versa".
 
Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said the portal "marks a new beginning in the process towards making everything transparent in coal, so that nothing gets leaked".
 
The Delhi High Court had on Monday granted interim relief to Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. and restrained the central government from allocating to Coal India the two coal blocks - for which JSPL had emerged as the successful bidder in the recent round of auctions.
 
The ministry said last week it was "re-examining" nine winning bids out of the 33 coal blocks auctioned so far, on whether there were any price discrepancies in case of the nine winning bids, including those made by companies like Jindal Steel and Balco.
 
It was considering whether these bids were too low when compared with the winning bids for other similar blocks through an analytical tool called "outlier", which looks for unusual observations that are far removed from the mass of data.

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COMMENTS

Suketu Shah

2 years ago

Ache din aaye hain.Coal is so much muddled in corruption (and deliberate underutlisation over the yrs,not since 16 May 2014) that it makes perfect sense for the country to divest out of it and fast as Namo is doing.

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