Essar Oil has already recognised the liability in its quarterly accounts for the quarter ended 31 December 2011
Essar Oil has already recognised this liability in its quarterly accounts for the quarter ended 31 December 2011. The Supreme Court of India has disallowed Essar Oil review petition in relation to deferred sales tax. The review petition was filed by the company seeking a review of the Supreme Court’s decision on 17 January 2012.
Essar Oil has already recognised this liability in its quarterly accounts for the quarter ended 31 December 2011. The company is also in discussion with the Gujarat government for finalising the terms of repayment of sales tax liabilities.
Simultaneously, Essar Oil is in discussions with banks for meeting the repayment obligations as may be finalised with Gujarat government.
The price hike in China to $150 per tonne now from $130 per tonne in the recent past provides NMDC the necessary cushion to effect a hike, which is likely for both for lumps and fines—two varieties of iron ore
Iron ore miner NMDC may announce a Rs300-Rs400 per tonne increase in the prices of the key steel-making raw material in the third week of this month when its Board meets to take a final call.
Sources in the country's largest iron ore producer said the price rise is almost a given now since the raw material is in short supply domestically and costlier in China.
“The price hike in China to $150 per tonne now from $130 per tonne in the recent past provides NMDC the necessary cushion to effect a hike, which is likely for both for lumps and fines—two varieties of iron ore,” sources said.
A ban on mining in Karnataka’s Bellary region since July last year and closure of some mines in Goa have impacted iron ore production, resulting in inadequate supply for most of the domestic steel mills, which do not have a captive source. Bellary used to contribute 80% of Karnataka's production of around 16 million tonnes.
NMDC’s acting chairman NK Nanda declined to comment on the possible hike in the prices, saying the matter would be discussed at the next Board meeting of the company, slated for the third week of this month. “It is not proper to comment on the price hike now. Wait for another two weeks. Our Board is going to meet in the third week of this month. Board will decide on this. So far, there has been no increase during the month,” Mr Nanda said.
The proposed price hike may not push the steel prices up further since almost all leading producers of the metal have effected a price hike from the beginning of the current month, factoring in cost escalation.
NMDC has already communicated the provisional price of iron ore for the April-June quarter to steel firms. It had lowered iron ore price by up to Rs160 per tonne for lumps and Rs600 for fines in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal, after hiking the price in the October-December quarter of 2011-12.
The price of lumps, which Indian steel mills mostly use, is between Rs4,900-Rs6,000 per tonne now. Fines are being traded between Rs2,200-Rs3,000 per tonne.
Lumps contribute 40% to NMDC’s sales while the rest is from fines. Essar Steel, JSW Steel and RINL are among NMDC’s biggest customers.
Transport expert Dr PS Pasricha explains that BEST, which has monopoly in the city’s bus transport, can revive and gain commuter base thereby giving a much-needed push to public transport in Mumbai. He also elaborated on specific bus related projects like BRTS and dedicated airport shuttle. This the second part of the interview
Dr PS Pasricha, former deputy commissioner of Mumbai (traffic) in the 1980s, had introduced series of very thoughtful steps to improve the traffic management of the “maximum city”. He has also served on various departments of police. A PhD in traffic management, Dr Pasricha has authored a book, Traffic Management: A long way to go”, on road safety and traffic management. In an interview with Alekh Angre of Moneylife, he talks about urgent need to improve the public bus transport in Mumbai.
ML: To make people leave their cars and use public transport, an effective alternative in the form of public transport should be provided. This is the crux of the whole argument.
PS: Unfortunately we have the same jam-packed BEST (Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport) buses and suburban trains. We can’t expect all strata of society to use them. Considering this, we had suggested introducing air conditioned trains every 15 minutes and also make all the trains with the capacity of 12 coaches. If you could provide air conditioned BEST buses from point-to-point, then a man in a tie also won’t mind using it. Some of these things are happening now. Effective, efficient and affordable public transport is a pre-requisite of traffic restrained technique. You can’t just say that we have built flyovers and it will solve all the problems.
ML: BEST, which has monopoly in public bus transport in the city, added 1,000 more buses to its fleet. But the numbers of passengers have substantially declined. There are also many loss-making routes. How can it be revived?
PS: Earlier, on an average, each single-decker BEST Bus, carried around 110 passengers including standees. As per my estimates, the numbers of standees are reducing. Plus we have to also take in to account the rising number of two-wheelers. Also the population in the southern island with Mahim as outer ring has reduced, while it is increasing in the suburbs. So the passenger decline is not much. What BEST requires is the rationalization of its routes. If they study the routes and passenger behaviour during peak times, they can accordingly start the service on a particular route with required amount of frequency. More importantly, they should display information about the route, frequency, so that people can plan their journey. All these steps will help to revive it.
As a PhD student I had studied that a double-decker BEST bus occupies 1.58 times the space occupied by a private car—considering factors like bridging distance, safe distance, etc. But it can carry around 120 people whereas car can carry maximum five persons. So this shows that public buses are essential part of urban transportation. If they are affordable, frequent and comfortable people will use it.
ML: BEST claims to be making losses. So is private bus transport a solution?
PS: I am vehemently against introducing private bus services, as in such a case law enforcement would be a big problem. Despite all odds and way this city is growing, we have to give credit to BEST and our suburban trains. The moment it is private, it becomes purely commercial. Look at Delhi, there is a problem of overloading, high speed, etc. Like I mentioned earlier, we need good air-conditioned buses to push people to leave their cars. If BEST is unable to buy them, then we should allow corporates to run fully air-conditioned buses for their employees on certain routes so that they won’t create congestion. Having said that, such services should only be an addition to improve the transport system and not a competition to BEST.
ML: In Mumbai, where the trains are jam-packed, certain BEST buses run empty. How can one have a balance between both?
PS: Unless one studies the commuting pattern, this is difficult. Such a study also helps in rationalizing the routes and fares. We can’t have such low fares when the prices of all essential goods are rising. One way is also to introduce an integrated fare system. In the era of computerisation, it is easier to introduce one ticket system for buses and suburban trains. Many countries have introduced it. Rather than making people to buy different tickets when they change from bus to train or one train to another, a single ticket could be introduced which can be punched on changing the mode or route of transport. Considering the routes or the buses/ trains one has changed, the cost could be equally shared.
ML: What are your views on Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS)?
PS: It is so difficult to give a blanket answer on this. My opinion is if one project was success elsewhere there is no guarantee it will work here. BRTS has certain limitations in Mumbai. Unless we have even width roads, implementation would be a problem. One way is to introduce a dedicated bus lane where the roads are wide and then mix with the regular lane. Another problem is bunching of buses. Even in the dedicated lanes, if one bus stops to offload passengers, chances are that the buses behind it might also have to wait. This would increase the waiting time. All these issues have to be studied.
ML: One specific issue is that of the inadequate public transport at the Mumbai airport. There is a dearth of a good and reliable taxi service even as there are inadequate public buses. What would be the solution?
PS: This is an issue which has not been addressed for a long time. People are waiting for around 20 minutes even to take a cab. Authorities can introduce an airport shuttle connecting important parts of the city. So many countries have done that. A nice air-conditioned and comfortable shuttle will be used by people. Such a shuttle could be connected to certain locations which are near to a taxi or auto stand. It will give people more options of commuting to and from the airport. Even people coming from outside will opt for it, considering the problem of being fleeced by the cabbies. Still those who don’t want it will continue to use autos or taxis. A shuttle it is also an option for people often left at the mercy of errant cabbies.
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“Public Transport will improve with better management of congestion, signal and utilities” -Part I