Videocon to set up Rs1,500 crore TV unit in Tamil Nadu

Coimbatore: Consumer durables major Videocon is setting up a TV manufacturing unit at Manamadurai in Tamil Nadu with an investment of Rs1,500 crore, reports PTI.

A memorandum of understanding to this effect would be signed in the presence of Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on August 4 at Chennai, Industries Department sources said.

Similarly, MoUs would be signed on that day for a Rs 1,500 crore tyre manufacturing unit of JK Tyres and an LNG Terminal at Ennore by Indian Oil Corporation, the sources said.


SC directs telecom companies to submit revenue share details to CAG

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday directed private telecom firms to give their financials to the government auditor CAG, but stopped the auditor from vetting the papers till a case on jurisdiction was decided by the High Court, reports PTI.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia directed the members of GSM lobby COAI to give revenue sharing details to the country's top auditor within two weeks from today to ensure ensure that the government was getting its due by way of licence fee.

The apex court, however, said that no audit would be done as the matter on CAG's jurisdiction to audit the accounts of private telecom companies is still to be decided by the Delhi High Court.

Till the hearing of the petition in High Court is pending, no steps shall be taken by CAG to carry audit of financial accounts based on the documents given by them (private telecoms), the bench said.

"Each of the members of COAI, within two weeks must furnish to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) copies of revenue sharing details," stated the bench, which also consisted Justices KS Radhakrishnan and Swatantar Kumar.

The court also said if CAG requires any further documents, the operators would have to provide them.

During the hearing, counsels appearing for CAG informed that some of the operators including Tatas have already submitted their revenue sharing details, while some other operators like Bharti are yet to do so.

The Delhi High Court had asked the telecom companies to submit their account books to CAG. CAG had been asked by the Centre to check if there was any under-reporting of revenue for calculating the licence fee.

The two telecom lobby groups -- COAI (GSM operators) and AUSPI (CDMA players) -- had challenged the recent CAG direction to the telcos to submit their revenue sharing details for auditing.

On 20th May, telecom tribunal TDSAT had declined a request from Bharti Airtel and Vodafone to stay the CAG audit.


Alleged flouting of forest laws by Vedanta, Posco being probed

New Delhi: Union Ministry of Environment and Forests is investigating alleged violation of forest laws by Vedanta Co and Korean steel maker Posco in Orissa, the Rajya Sabha was informed on Monday, reports PTI.

Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour, Minister for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh said a four-member expert group is currently in Orissa looking at all cases of alleged violation by Vedanta Co.

An iron ore mining project may comprise both forest and non-forest area and a company can initiate action in non-forest area only after it has received approval for mining in the forest area, he said.

Vedanta Co is being investigated by the ministry for alleged violation of this guideline, he said. "We will take a final call after report of the expert group is received."

Similarly, Posco was under investigation for alleged violation of forest act in acquisition of land for the mega project. "Any violation of forest act will not be tolerated," he said.

On the issue of illegal mining in Karnataka, Mr Ramesh said he had written to Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa on 3rd July pointing out "gross violation (of the Forest Conservation Act) by private iron ore mining companies" in the forest area of Sandur near Bellary.

SB Minerals, Trident Minerals and Veeyam Minerals continued to mine in the area "in complete violation of the Forest Advisory Committee resolution of 10 May 2010, which clearly and explicitly directed that such mining be stopped."

The Chief Minister has "promised to take action against illegal mining," he said pointing that the Forest Conservation Act of 1980 does not empower his ministry to take action.

The Forest Advisory Committee had recommended that the state government should take up a survey and demarcate the area designated under the mining licence.

Mr Ramesh said between 1950 and 1980, four million hectare forest land was converted for non-forest use while during the subsequent 30 years, only one million of forest land was diverted for non-forest purposes.

The Forest Conservation Act does not prohibit use of forest land for non-forest purposes. "It cannot be anybody's case that we stop all mining activities... we stop all development activities," he said, adding the diversion has to be kept barest minimum and should be done under strict conditions and stipulations including compensatory forestation.

"Today honestly, the truth is that regulatory system is not effective enough to stop illegal mining in the country," he said. "The honest truth is that we do not have effective regulatory system to deal with illegal mining."

A group of minister is among other things looking at regulatory deficiencies in dealing with illegal mining.

On alleged illegal mining of iron ore in Obulapuram on the AP-Karnataka border, Mr Ramesh said Survey of India has been asked to do a survey of the disputed territory. Bases on the survey, "if there is any violation of forest conservation act, we will take action."

He said permission for three power projects and one aluminium smelter refinery in Andhra Pradesh has been suspended on the ground of violation of environmental laws.


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