SC cancels Amrapali Group's RERA registration, asks NBCC to complete pending projects
Giving respite to the 42,000 beleagured buyers of Amrapali Group, the Supreme Court on Tuesday cancelled the real estate company's RERA registration and appointed state-run National Buildings Construction Corporation Limited (NBCC) to complete all its pending projects.
 
A bench, comprising Justice Arun Mishra and Justice U.U. Lalit, also noted that Amrapali Group had committed a major violation of Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and foreign direct investment (FDI) norms and directed the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to register a money laundering case against the company, its CEO and Managing Director (CMD), and directors.
 
The court observed that Amrapali Group's top management diverted homebuyers' money to build their personal assets, instead of completing its housing projects. "The top management of Amrapali Group siphoned off the money to foreign countries," said the court. Noida and Greater Noida authorities were negligent in monitoring the progress of the project, the court said. 
 
Reserving a verdict in the case, the apex court had on May 10 noted that the homebuyers had already paid the company Rs 1,100 crore, which was more than the cost of its projects. The court had asked banks and the authorities concerned, if the projects could be taken over by Noida and Greater Noida authorities for completion. 
 
Pleading that they do not have the requisite resources and expertise to complete the construction of the stalled projects, the Noida and Greater Noida authorities asked the bench to hand them over to a reputed builder. They also requested the court to set up a high-powered committee to supervise the completion of the projects in a time-bound manner. 
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article
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    Autonomous Vehicles: Winds of Change
    Since October 2016, a couple of minibuses have been travelling between two points on a 1.4km route in the eco-friendly business district of Confluence, in Lyon, a city of half a million inhabitants, in the southeast of France. What is most unusual about these 15-passenger minibuses is that there is no driver or conductor on board; moreover, you cannot make out whether it is coming or going.
    Symmetrical in design, the 'front' and the 'rear' of the vehicle are identical.
     
    As the vehicle has been configured to proceed in either direction, both ends needed to feature headlamps and rear lamps, as well as the panel at the top displaying the bus number and destination.
     
    Thus, the designer of this driverless, autonomous minibus (the very first in commercial production), the Navya Shuttle, designed a vehicle with identical front/rear, one which incorporated all the functional requirements for the front, as well as the rear, of a bus.
     
     
    On first encounter, it can be a bit confusing, as one may be wondering whether one had just missed the bus, or whether the bus was approaching the stop where one was waiting.
     
    As people got used to the design, as well as the concept – of a driverless vehicle – these buses have proved to be very popular. Navya, since deploying the first buses in Lyon (the city where these autonomous vehicles are manufactured), have sold these autonomous minibuses across the globe. From Perth to Los Angeles today there a couple of hundreds of Navya autonomous buses ferrying thousands of people in electric quietness.
     
     
    Not unlike the Navya Shuttle, Navya’s latest vehicle, the Cab, is another strange device. It is a six-seater taxicab, one which has been designed to transport six people, sitting facing each other, in a vehicle that is driverless and autonomous.
     
    Unlike the bus, the front and rear are not mirror images; yet the car is rather confusing: which is the front end and which is the rear may have bystanders very perturbed. The vehicle also has just one sliding door on one side, the kerbside of the vehicle (which is on the right side, as the vehicle is currently designed to be used in countries where people drive on the right, such as Continental Europe, and the US.).
     
     
    In designing vehicles like the Navya Shutttle and the Cab, the designers have had to rethink the way an automobile needs to be designed, as the use and ownership considerations change considerably, as we all move into a new world of autonomous driverless vehicles, to be shared by all and sundry.  
     
     
    The automobile industry is at an inflexion point in terms of technology, as well as what automobiles are going to look like. With emissions issues overriding economic factors, cars powered by fossil fuels are expected to disappear over the next couple of decades. As electric motors and batteries or fuel cells come in, the placement of the powertrain and the packaging that goes with them will change drastically. 
     
    Most of the cars today have their engines at the front, and for almost all the smaller cars, these engines drive the front pair of wheels. With electric motors, the driven wheels, if they are going to be a pair only, will be the rear in more cases than before. Which may mean that the locations of the motors may move either to the rear axle, or to the rear pair of wheels, freeing up space at the front, or compacting the vehicles into shorter front ends. 
     
     
    At the same time, the ownership patterns of vehicles is changing rapidly too. Until recently, about 97% of the vehicles on the road have been in private ownership; the remaining three percent or so were for public transport, such as, taxis, buses and three-wheelers. This ratio is going to change with the percentage for the latter increasing exponentially. More and more people are expected to give up owning a car and even if they do own one, they may not use it as much as before. 
     
     
    Concepts like vehicle share programmes, car or scooter pools and so on will change the way vehicles serving these needs, will need to be conceived, and designed. Thus, the design and aesthetics of these publicly owned vehicles could be very different from the ones owned by individuals. The latter will be able to personalise their vehicles, whereas the one for public use will be of the more homogenous, almost characterless, but very functional, robust, matter-of-fact 'boxes' on wheels.
     
    The trend has already been set in Europe, as more and more people are giving up cars and have started using public transport, or shared vehicles. This trend may take time to reach countries like India and China, but will surely happen. 
     
     
    Thus, manufacturers have begun to design and develop vehicles to address these differing needs. As much as giants like General Motors, Toyota or Renault design characterful cars for automotive enthusiasts, they are also working on designs like the Segway Puma pod 'car', the three-wheeled oddity i-ROAD (for the city of Grenoble in France), and the Twizy tandem-seater quadri-cycle respectively, to provide vehicles that could transport an individual or two to work or play.
     
    (Gautam Sen is acknowledged globally as a leading automotive journalist, writer, automotive design consultant and expert from India. He founded the country’s first newsstand car magazine Indian Auto in 1986, followed by Auto India, Auto Motor & Sports and BBC’s TopGear. Mr Sen has also been directly involved with the automobile industry in India and Europe, and has worked with eminent designers such as Gerard Godfroy, Tom Tjaarda and Marcello Gandini.)
     
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    COMMENTS

    Sudhir P Badami

    4 months ago

    That was quite enlightening. I was looking for some such 15 seater with wheels slightly larger than those being used for say Maruti Ecco. These would provide feeder services to arterial mass rapid transit lines like Suburban Railway, Metro Rail, Monorail and the Bus Rapid Transit.

    I would like to meet Mr Gautam Sen.

    IL&FS gets Justice Jain's approval to sell wind energy unit to Japan's ORIX
    Crisis-ridden IL&FS on Monday said it has received approval from Justice (retd) D.K. Jain on the proposed sale of wind energy subsidiaries, held under IL&FS Wind Energy Ltd (IWEL), to ORIX Corporation of Japan.
     
    Justice Jain was appointed by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) to supervise the operation of resolution process of IL&FS Group companies.
     
    "The approval has been granted on the conditions that the proposal will now be placed before the NCLT (National Company Law Tribunal) for its approval and the bid amount realized from the sale be kept in an escrow account," an IL&FS statement said.
     
    The amount in escrow account will be disbursed in accordance with the directions in the proceedings, pending before the NCLT or the NCLAT, as applicable, it added.
     
    ORIX, owner of 49 per cent stake in each of IL&FS group's seven operating wind power plants, had expressed its intent to buy out the remaining 51 per cent stake held by IWEL under the terms of an existing agreement wherein ORIX can match the price offered by the highest bidder for purchasing IWEL's stake in the wind special purpose vehicles.
     
    ORIX decided to match the offer of the highest bidder, of around Rs 4,800 crore for 100 per cent of enterprise value, contemplating no haircut to the debt of the SPVs aggregating to around Rs 3,700 crore. Some of the major lenders in the SPVs include the Power Finance Corporation, Bank of Baroda (for working capital and project financing), and India Infra Debt Ltd, with debt aggregating to around Rs 3,700 crore (without interest).
     
    The IL&FS statement said that sale to ORIX will lead to resolution of the following seven companies of the IL&FS Group - Lalpur Wind Energy Pvt LTD, Etesian Urja, Khandke Wind Energy, Retadi Wind Power, Wind Urja India, Tadas Wind Energy and Kaze Energy. The IL&FS Board approved the sale of these entities to ORIX Corporation on June 28. the contentions made in the appeal, and also look into the issues emerging from the Essar verdict. The top court will hear the matter at length after two weeks. 
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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