West Bengal

  • Coal India, IL&FS arm in project development SPV

    Coal India Ltd (CIL) and IL&FS Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd (IL&FS IDC), a unit of IL&FS, have signed a deal to float a 50-50 joint venture to undertake develop mining, power and other coal-based projects. A special purpose vehicle, Integrated Power & Coal Development Co Pvt Ltd (Intec), will set up a project development fund of Rs 10 crore per project with equal shares from the two partners to fund each project that it takes up. CIL's technical director NC Jha and IL&FS IDC's managing director DK Mittal signed the pact at CIL's headquarters here in the presence of CIL chairman Partha S Bhattacharyya and others. The SPV will undertake the entire chain of project development activities, from project identification, site selection, facilitation in land acquisition and technical and environmental studies to preparation of DPR, EIA, obtaining various clearances and approvals, obtaining linkages, tying of sales (power sales as relevant to power projects), finalisation of evacuation arrangements, financial modeling, legal documentation, engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract, O&M, project structuring and marketing with lenders and investors. The SPV will work on projects that involve improving mine performance, accessing difficult mines, developing or implementing pithead coal-based power projects, development of washeries, power plants based on asheries and so on. The venture will also help private sector Companies that have been allotted mines to develop them. CIL expects to gain from the SPV's activities by way of low-cost power from pithead-based power plants and by selling power instead of coal.

  • BoA clears 14 new SEZs

    The Board of Approval (BoA) of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) on Monday cleared 14 new proposals, including ten formal approvals. While two SEZs each have been cleared in Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan, one each will come up in Maharashtra, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The BoA granted formal approvals to two SEZs of the State Industries Promotion Corporation of Tamil Nadu Ltd. (SIPCOT), one for transport engineering goods at Tirunelveli and another of automobile and auto ancillary at Thiruvannamalai. Similarly, two SEZs of Mahindra Worldcity (Jaipur) Ltd. of handicrafts and light engineering at Jaipur were given formal approvals. Other SEZs cleared include an information technology SEZ by Videocon Realtors and Infrastructure Ltd. at Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, IT SEZ by Devbhumi Realtors Pvt. Ltd. at Ranga Reddy District in Andhra Pradesh, pharmaceuticals SEZ by JB SEZ Pvt. Ltd. at Panoli in Gujarat and Power SEZ by Wardha Power Company at Chandrapur in Maharashtra. According to Commerce Secretary G. K. Pillai, who also heads the Board of Approval, so far formal approvals have been granted for setting up of 439 SEZs out of which 201 have been notified as on date. The Commerce Secretary said that over Rs. 67,347 crore had been invested in these notified SEZs, giving direct employment to 97,478 persons, which is in addition to the employment provided to 1.83 lakh persons by the seven Central Government established SEZs.

  • Nayachar first glance good'

    Nayachar: The six-member expert committee constituted by the state government to see the technical and economic feasibility of a chemical industry on Nayachar liked what it saw on the first visit to the island today. Led by former ONGC chairman and the Hinduja group vice-chairman in India, Subir Raha, the team (see box) of scientists that included oceanographers and chemical engineers spent over two hours criss-crossing the island. "Prima facie, it looks good. The initial drilling suggests that the soil has load-bearing capacity. However, we will look into more than 10 areas

  • Sinosteel project to start in April

    SINOSTEEL, the $16-billion state-owned Chinese steel major, will start work on its proposed unit in West Bengal in April. The new unit due to come up in the port town of Haldia will be Sinosteel's first manufacturing presence in India. Sinosteel, which plans an investment of Rs 200 crore, will manufacture cold forged steel rolls used in cold rolling mills. "Construction work on our plant in West Bengal will start from April. We have got possession of 30 acres at Haldia on which the plant will come up. We have already placed orders for equipment which will be shipped from China,' Sinosteel India MD Hangseng Wang said. He is in the city to attend a steel seminar. The meet will focus on bringing steel and allied sectors of China and India closer. The Haldia unit will have a capacity of 5,000 tonne and will meet one-third of the requirements in the Indian steel industry. The investment in West Bengal is a part of the $2-billion package being readied by Sinosteel for stepping up its manufacturing presence in India. As part of this project, Sinosteel had signed an MoU last year with the Jharkhand government for a 2-million tonne (mt) integrated steel plant. "All necessary approvals from external affairs, finance and steel ministry have come through. We would like to start work as soon as we get the land,' Mr Wang said. Sinosteel, which is into mining, design and manufacturing of steel plant equipment, has been involved in construction of almost all major plants in China. The proposed project is likely to come up in Silli-Chandil area near Ranchi. Sinosteel is looking at 300 mt of iron ore reserves for which the company will apply for a mining lease. "However, we will not wait for getting a mining lease before we start our operations. Instead, we will stick to our schedule. If necessary, we would source iron ore from private mines in and around the area,' Mr Wang added. China, which produced 489 mt of steel in 2007, is the largest steel producer in the world. "We can do a lot for the fast growing Indian steel industry,' Mr Wang added.

  • Farm loan waiver to help small tea growers

    KOLKATA: The finance minister's farm loan waiver will help 1.10 lakh small tea growers become more competitive. Small growers contribute 25% to the national tea production, which stood at 940 million kg in 2007. The Budget has also abolished cash transaction tax, which was a burden to the tea industry in particular. "Nearly 80% tea estate workers do not have bank accounts and have to be paid in cash. For the tea industry, which is yet to come out of a crisis, this tax was an added burden,' Ambootia group chairman Sanjay Bansal said. There are 3 million direct workers in the country's tea estates. The estates also provide indirect employment to some 1.5 million people. The wage bill of the industry is around Rs 80 crore. The payment to workers are made on weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis.

  • Buddhadeb appeals for peace at Nandigram

    MAKING AMENDS: West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee distributing land ownership deeds to landless farmers in Nandigram, East Midnapur in West Bengal on Tuesday. Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee appealed to Opposition parties in Nandigram on Tuesday "to join hands [with the State Government] and work together for development in Nandigram which is only possible if there is peace' but cautioned against allowing Maoists to re-enter as they were bent on fomenting fresh unrest in the area. "I believe peace will gradually return but we must be cautious against the Maoists who have now fled from re-entering Nandigram. We have information that they are training in areas like Jharkhand and planning to return. They should not be allowed in under any circumstances. They are an army of killers,' Mr Bhattacharjee said. He was speaking on the occasion of the handing over of pattas [land ownership deeds] in the Nandigram area to landless peasants who included those from the scheduled castes and tribes and the Muslim community. Admitting that his government had failed to convince the people of Nandigram the need for setting up industries in the area "which is our misfortune' and referring to the violence spreading over 11 months last year, the Chief Minister said: "I have not come here to blame any party but to tell all including [supporters of] both the Communist Party of India [Marxist] and the Trinamool Congress to work towards peace and development. Time has come to forget what had happened over the past year,' he said. It was his second visit to Nandigram since hostilities between the BUPC and the CPI(M) ceased in November 2007. There has been sporadic violence over the past two days and security arrangements were elaborate in view of the Chief Minister's visit. "We have learnt our lesson [from the Nandigram experience] and industries will only be set up where the local people are agreeable,' Mr. Bhattacharjee said, denying reports attributed to the Trinamool Congress-led Bhumi Ucched Pratirodh [Resistance against Eviction from Land] Committee (BUPC) that the State Government will acquire land from peasants in Nandigram once the rural polls scheduled for May are over. "That will never happen,' he asserted. "We have made a mistake and will never go in for any acquisition of land in Nandigram. The chemical hub that was to have been set up here will come up at Nayachar instead and we hope will provide job opportunities even to those from here,' the Chief Minister said. "There can be no development in the State without setting up new industries. But we are also aware of taking the responsibility of those whose lands need to be acquired for the purpose. They will be provided jobs and other alternative means of earning a livelihood. Factories cannot come up with people shedding tears,' Mr Bhattacharjee said. Listing his plans for the Nandigram area, the Chief Minister said while agricultural development will be given priority, assistance will be provided to boost local trade and improve educational facilities. "The local panchayats have not been able to function during the past months of violence, development work has been held up and the people have suffered. Time has now come to work, work and work', Mr Bhattacharjee said.

  • SHGs fight over mid-day meal order

    MIDNAPORE: The midday meal programme in Murari SC High School in Belpahari block in Midnapore West had to be closed by the school authorities indefinitely a day after it was introduced following an or

  • Fund to compensate those giving land for industries

    Presenting the 2008-09 budget, West Bengal Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta on Monday announced the creation of a Rs.100-crore Special Assistance Fund for people who give their land for setting up big i

  • Nayachar hope on Paswan lips

    The Centre could give its consent to the proposed Nayachar chemical hub in two to three months. Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan said an expert panel was examining the proposal sent by Bengal.

  • State fails to curb chicken transport

    The highly pathogenic avian influenza could reach new areas in the state after the state animal husbandry department officials received reports that poultry owners of the notified areas in Malda have

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