Companies & Sectors
Six more coal blocks to be cancelled; seven others to lose guarantee

Bhaskarpara allotted to Grasim Industries and Electrotherm; Dahegaon Markardhokra IV given to IST Steel & Power; North Dhadu allotted to Electrosteel Castings; Choritand Telaiyaallotted to Rungta Mines and Gondkhari block allotted to Maharashtra Seamless were among the blocks whose deallocation was approved


New Delhi: Stepping up action, the Indian government on Wednesday decided to cancel six more coal blocks allocated to private companies and deduct bank guarantees of seven others for failing to develop the mines within the time-frame, reports PTI.

 

"Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal approved the IMG's recommendation to de-allocate six more mines and deduct bank guarantees of seven. Earlier, the government has already announced cancelling licences of seven mines and deducting bank guarantees of seven others," sources told PTI.

 

Bhaskarpara allotted to Grasim Industries and Electrotherm; Dahegaon Markardhokra IV given to IST Steel & Power; North Dhadu allotted to Electrosteel Castings; Choritand Telaiyaallotted to Rungta Mines and Gondkhari block allotted to Maharashtra Seamless were among the blocks whose deallocation was approved today, the sources said.

 

The seven blocks approved for deduction of bank guarantees include Seregarha block given jointly to the world's largest steel producer ArcelorMittal and GVK Power; Moitra block allotted to Jayaswal Neco; Dumri block given to Neelachal Iron & Steel and Durgapur II/ Sariya block allotted to DB Power, the sources said.

 

With this, the government has accepted all the recommendations by an Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG), which had recommended de-allocation of 13 mines and deduction of bank guarantees of 14 allottees after scrutinising 31 coal blocks allotted to private companies.

 

Among the de-allocated blocks, Dahegaon-Makardhokra IV block was given to IST Steel and Power, along with cement firms Gujarat Ambuja and Lafarge India, in June 2009. The block has a total of 48.84 million tonnes (MT) of extractable reserves.

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Central Bank launches slew of credit and debit cards

Central Bank launched three debit cards, two credit cards and a student prepaid card for disbursement of scholarship

Mumbai: Central Bank of India has launched a slew of cards in both debit and credit categories on the MasterCard platform apart from other innovative banking solutions, reports PTI.

 

The city-based state-run lender had introduced credit cards to the country way back in 1980.

 

It yesterday launched three debit cards (international shopping, platinum and a NexGen card for the 10-17 year-olds), two credit cards (world credit card, a co-branded one with the Indian Dental Association) and a student prepaid card for disbursement of scholarship in Chhattisgarh in the presence of Bank Chairman and Managing Director M V Tankasale.

 

The world credit card comes with a bouquet of features like free air ticket, zero surcharge on petrol filling, loyalty points for every Rs 100 spent, airport lounge access, insurance cover and many more offers and value additions.

 

The bank also introduced on-line deposit products for net banking customers. Its debit card customers can now book railway tickets through the IRCTC platform.

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Kingfisher continues to default on service tax payments

The Vijay Mallya owned and debt ridden Kingfisher has an outstanding of over Rs60 crore in just service tax and it is defaulting on the weekly payments while most of its bank accounts are frozen

Mumbai: Kingfisher Airlines continues to default on its service tax outstandings, amounting of over Rs60 crore, and the government move to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) policy in civil aviation sector offers the "only ray of hope" to recover the dues from the debt-ridden airline, reports PTI quoting a top official from Service Tax department.

 

Kingfisher has said it is in talks with foreign carriers for bringing in FDI, a move that is expected help it overcome financial troubles.

 

"Kingfisher Airlines continues to be a defaulter and has an outstanding of over Rs60 crore. It is defaulting on the weekly payments and most of its bank accounts are frozen," Mumbai Service Tax Commissioner Sushil Solanki told PTI.

 

As the department has frozen almost all the accounts of the ailing airline, which is forced to operate only a skeletal schedule due to drop in services, it is very difficult for the carrier to pay its dues as cash flows are down to a trickle.

 

Kingfisher has not been depositing service tax collected from passengers with the department since November last on a regular basis and instead has been diverting it for other purposes on a regular basis.

 

As the airline started defaulting on tax payment, the department started freezing its bank accounts since November last.

 

The Vijay Mallya-promoted airline's total outstanding dues stood at Rs60 crore, from a high of Rs140 crore, after its bank accounts were frozen.

 

"A full payment of dues is very difficult and the only way by which the money can come in is via a foreign partner's fund infusion, if it goes through," Solanki said.

 

Mallya said in Bangalore yesterday that Kingfisher was talking with foreign airlines.

 

"Yes, we are in talks" he told reporters on the sidelines of the annual general meeting of the UB Group promoted by him.

 

According to Solanki, the national carrier Air India also owes huge dues to the department totalling over Rs250 crore.

 

"Air India has told us that they are likely to get an equity infusion and they will pay us out of that," he said, adding only a few of the state-run carrier's accounts have been frozen.

 

In a strategic move, the government recently allowed up to 49% direct equity holding by foreign carriers in domestic airlines.

 

Kingfisher, which currently operates only around 50 services a day with just seven aircraft, is hoping to catch the FDI line thrown by government to bail itself out of the fund crunch.

 

Kingfisher owes over Rs7,000 crore to 17 banks in the long-term debt besides the income tax obligation apart from accumulated losses of around Rs8,000 crore.

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