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The Indian government is leaving no stone unturned to see that South Korean steel major Posco's Rs54,000-crore project in Orissa is started after all the regulatory clearances, in the next four-five months
Steel minister Virbhadra Singh said on Monday that the Indian government is leaving no stone unturned to see that South Korean steel major Posco's Rs54,000-crore project in Orissa is kicked off after all the regulatory clearances in the four-five months, reports PTI.
"Efforts are to see that the entire matter is seen, signed and delivered in the next four-five months. This includes physical transfer of land and all regulatory clearances to Posco," Mr Singh told reporters after an eight-member Posco delegation headed by the company's chairman and global head Joon-Yang Chung called on him.
The meeting assumes significance in the wake of South Korean president Lee Myung-bak taking up the matter with prime minister Manmohan Singh later in the evening on Monday.
The minister added that once the matters are addressed, the company will start production in two years.
"It was a very fruitful meeting," Mr Joon-Yang Chung said after the meeting. Mr Singh said that mines have already been allotted to Posco but some claimants, including a state-run unit, have moved the Orissa High Court against this.
Mr Singh said that the Indian government would request the High Court to clear the case expeditiously, adding that the litigant state-run unit would also be persuaded to withdraw the case.
He said that the steel giant is also in talks with the Maharashtra and Karnataka governments for other steel projects.
Vodafone has claimed that Tata Tele and RCom were paying far less spectrum charges to the government compared to itself and Bharti Airtel
Mobile operators are clashing yet again over the fee paid for spectrum (airwaves) with Vodafone claiming that Tata Teleservices Ltd (Tata Tele) and Reliance Communications Ltd (RCom) were paying far less to the government—a charge denied by the two companies, reports PTI.
"The allegation of the incumbent (Vodafone) is illogical, baseless, misleading and a blatant attempt to divert the focus from the real issue, which is that the incumbent and other players are hoarding spectrum beyond the contracted amount of 6.2 MHz and not allowing other players to start services in Delhi," a Tata Tele spokesperson said.
Vodafone, one of the largest GSM operators, had said that service providers like itself and Bharti Airtel pay the highest spectrum charges per MHz to the Department of Telecom (DoT) compared to others. “For example, the rate per MHz per quarter for Bharti and Vodafone for seven circles is Rs1.71 crore and Rs1.37 crore, respectively.
"As compared to this, the rate paid by Tata Tele and RCom is only Rs0.27 crore and Rs0.22 crore,” Vodafone's resident director TV Ramachandran has said in a letter to DoT asking it to remove such distortions.
The rivals, however, called the allegation “absurd” and said that Vodafone has compared payment of spectrum usage for seven circles including metros and it would be very misleading to compare these circles where the incumbents have been operating for many years and have revenues far exceeding players like Tata Tele and RCom and other new players in the GSM mobile-platform space.
Upset by what it called “Vodafone’s misleading calculation”, one of the new operators said: "It seems they (incumbent operators like Vodafone) have decided not to allow any new player to survive in the market."
The spectrum fee has been a bone of contention among existing and new operators.
"Somewhere, amid all the allegations our competitor has made, it has forgotten to mention that we have paid the entry fee of Rs1,650 crore twice," Tata Tele said, adding that "We (Tata Tele and RCom) are paying double the charge for both CDMA and GSM technologies."
Anil Ambani-led RCom said that old operators like Vodafone have revenues far exceeding RCom and they are paying fees as a percentage of adjusted gross revenue. In many circles, where RCom has more revenues their spectrum fees to the government is higher than Vodafone. It is absolutely “absurd” the way Vodafone has tried to “mislead” the government, RCom said, alleging that this was done with a view to keep the spectrum hoarded by players like Vodafone and not allowing new players to compete.
It is to be noted that some of the dominant operators are said to be holding in excess of over 10 MHz of spectrum across circles beyond the contracted limit of 6.2 MHz, without paying for the difference. This itself should fetch the government over Rs20,000 crore at market price.
The road & transport ministry has an ambitious plan of building 20 kilometres of road per day. RPN Singh, minister of state (MoS) for road & transport speaks with Moneylife’s Aaron Rodrigues about the ministry’s plans
Aaron Rodrigues (ML): Do you think that the road targets set out for FY10 can be met?
RPN Singh (RS): They (the road targets) are definitely possible; we wouldn’t have set out the targets (otherwise). We had planned to make 20 kilometres of road per day when we came into government in May. We have begun this ambitious plan. Earlier, we were making two kilometres per day, when we took over the ministry in May—my senior minister (Kamal Nath, minister for road & transportation) and I came out with a work plan of 12,000 kilometres of roads, which entails about $2 billion of expenditure. The government doesn’t have that kind of money, so we are going to be doing it through a build-operate-transfer (BOT) toll. Around 60% of our total plans are going to be (based on the) BOT toll module.
ML: Do you think that private companies will match up with the rapid road-addition plans of the government?
RS: We do believe that private players will match up (to our plans). Our ministry is planning to launch a public-private partnership project. In fact, the concessionaires and contractors have had some misgivings about the model concession agreement (MCA) which was the way the bids were called for. The prime minister recommended that we tweak the MCA. There was a panel set up by PK Chakravorty, which looked into the matters and problems faced by concessionaires and private players, and we changed the process of inviting tenders. Mr Chakravorty gave his suggestions which were accepted by the Cabinet and (they have) already been put into play. This has lead to great participation by private players in our projects. In fact, all of our projects have been taken up on the BOT toll module.
ML: What is the status on the agreement with the Malaysian government to build roads in India?
RS: We are not having any kind of deals with any government. We are getting it (our investments) through public partnerships and foreign investment. My senior minister has conducted road shows all over the world regarding how the country is looking to get its funding even from abroad, and we are quite certain that we will get a lot of money coming in from external sources.
ML: Do you see an improvement in land acquisition after the setting up of special land acquisition units?
RS: We are just compiling all the exact figures of the land acquisitions in the period since we took over from May (2009). We have put up 10 units in (various) states, out of which 192 special land acquisitions in the country (are) already underway. In a larger context, compared to the land that was acquired during the last four years of the first United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, we have in the last six months acquired double that amount of land or are in the process of acquiring the same. But we still need a quicker way of getting land and we are looking at making the process more proactive.
ML: Have any new projects been identified for road development?
RS: My senior Cabinet minister is working on expressways. There will be a separate expressway authority. So we are looking into expressways which our country needs. We are also looking into mega-projects which need huge investments, where not only Indian private contractors will be involved, even people from overseas would come in.
ML: Are there any new updates on the pilot project to be initiated on the automatic toll concession systems proposed to be implemented on Indian roads?
RS: We have got some pilot projects going on. We will be looking at them and also look into the possibilities where there is connectivity from one place to another. There are four-five (automatic toll concession) systems in the world, out of which three are suitable for our country.