Hydroelectric projects in Nepal becalmed by cement shortage
Hydroelectric projects in Nepal becalmed by cement shortage

Hydroelectric projects in Nepal becalmed by cement shortage

The Nepal Electricity Authority and the Independent Power Producers' Association Nepal say that the new hydroelectric projects are stalling due to a lack of imported cement. The shortage has been caused by new standards set by the Nepal Bureau of Standards and Metrology (NBSM) for imported cement. The NBSM made Nepal Standard Certification mandatory for imported cement in July 2017. Foreign producers supplying cement to Nepal, principally from India, have to follow quality, packaging and labelling criteria fixed by the NBSM.

Jaypee Cement and Star Cement have received approval from the NBSM to supply cement to the country following the new standard. Three more Indian cement producers have also submitted applications.

New eco-friendly cement being tested to reduce c02 emissions A research collaboration between India and Switzerland on a new cement material that can reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the manufactu-ring process is set to take off into implementation.

The construction sector is a major contributor to global carbon dioxide emissions. Though this is known, it appears difficult to reduce the scale of construction, especially as it is a route to establishing more equitable conditions in developing countries like India. One way of mitigating the emissions factor is the use of Limestone Calcined Clay Cement or the LC3 technology.

Traditional processes that manufacture cement from clinker-limestone or clinker-calcined clay combinations are well known. LC3 effects a synergy between these processes. The combination of the new method and the material properties effectively reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 30 per cent as compared to the traditional way of manufacturing cement. Research on this evolved over 10 years in Karen Scrivener's lab at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) at Lausanne, in Switzerland. Partners in this research are IIT Delhi, IIT Madras and TARA (Technology and Action for Rural Development).

Cabinet may clear new model for road projects
The Cabinet will soon take up the Road Transport and Highway Ministry's proposal of allowing bidding for projects on a new model, the Least Present Value of Revenue (LPVR). According to the model, the concessionaire period will be curtailed if a spike in traffic volume allows the operator concerned to recover their investment before the expiry of the period.

LPVR auctions are conducted globally for giving expressway franchises, and are won by companies bidding the least present value of toll revenue. The project returns to the government after the contract expires. The new mechanism allows contracts to be extended if traffic grows slower than expected. 'The proposal would go to the Cabinet very soon,' an official of the ministry told. In the past, investors had raised issues regarding leakage in toll collection. That concern has been addressed, as only those projects with full electronic toll collection would be eligible under this model, the official added.

The projects shortlisted for the LPVR mode are: Delhi-Amritsar-Katra, the Vadodara-Mumbai, the Chennai-Bengaluru, and the Kanpur-Lucknow highways. Also included are highways connecting Ahmedabad with Dholera, the proposed smart industrial city in Gujarat.

Government launches Smart City contest
In order to promote competition among Smart Cities and measure the quality and impact of projects undertaken under the flagship programme, the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry has launched Smart Cities Awards Contest, 2017, with a total prize money of over Rs 50 lakh.

The Government has announced Rs 50-lakh prize money for the winners of the contest, Best performers in each category will be awarded Rs 5 lakh each.

According to the Ministry, the contest was aimed at recognising and rewarding cities, projects and innovative ideas that promote the goals of the mission.

'The evaluation criteria will include impact, innovation and scalability/replicability in other areas of the city,' an official said. All projects completed by April 1, 2018, will be eligible for participation. The awards will be presented on June 25 next year, marking the third anniversary of the launch of the mission. 'Excellence will be recognised and awarded in areas such as improving governance, quality of built environment, social infrastructure, culture and economy, environment, transportation, mobility and water and sanitation,' a Ministry spokesman said.

L&T bags Rs 2,525-cr worth orders across various segments The construction arm of L&T has won orders worth Rs 2,525 crore across various business segments. The Metallurgical & Material handling Business has bagged orders worth Rs 2,271 crore in the domestic market to strengthen its presence in the metallurgical sector.

An engineering, procurement and construction order has been secured for setting up a non-ferrous process plant in India, against stiff global competition. The scope of the work involves design, engineering, procurement, installation, construction and commissioning of various subunits of the process plant and other associated works. The business has secured another order for manufacturing and supply of material handling equipment for multiple customers.

Other business segments of L&T construction have won orders worth Rs 254 crore. The Power Transmission & Distribution Business has bagged an order from Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). The scope of works include supply and construction of a 500/230kV Gas Insulated Substation and improvement works in two 230kV Gas Insulated Substations. The business has bagged this prestigious order for the highest voltage level GIS in the region along with a consortium partner. The Smart World & Communication Business has received an order from Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu Limited (ELCOT) for the supply, installation, commissioning, configuration, testing and O&M of the existing Tamil Nadu State Data Centre (TNSDC) Phase I. The scope of work includes setting up of a data center with up-gradation of IT infrastructure such as servers, network routers and switches and related software.

HMDA calls for new tenders for RFID system for toll collection Failing to get qualified bidders for previous tenders, the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) officials have decided to re-call tenders for Rapid Frequency Identification Device (RFID) system for Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) on Outer Ring Road (ORR).

A senior HMDA official said, ôthe department did not receive bidders for previous bidding of RFID and as such new tender are floated and the tender will close on October 13.ö He said that the new tenders are called for Rs 2 crore and the supply of RFID is of Rs 2.5 crore. He also added that according to Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) norms, a tender period would be of 35 days, but on request, it is changed to 30 days.Earlier, the HMDA officials had decided to take up Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) system. However, as RFID has been used all over India, HMDA has decided to install RFID at 23 toll plazas of ORR.

Rs 1.4-cr inter model station at Ajni and logistic hub at Khapri
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis have finalised that the inter model station (IMS) will come up at Ajni and the logistic hub will be constructed at Khapri. Totally, both will cost an estimated Rs 1,400 crore. Fadnavis said that the Central Jail will be shifted out of the city making available 150 acres in the heart of Nagpur. Gadkari added that the four road corridors from city to Indore, Raipur, Solapur and Surat will be connected under the Central Government's Bharat Mala Scheme. These decisions were taken at a meeting organised with the officials of Bharat Mala Scheme, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and Mahametro in the city.

Senior housing sector estimated to reach $1.26 bn
The senior housing sector in India is at a nascent stage with huge opportunities for the real estate developers, service providers, healthcare players and operators. Unlike western countries where the senior living sector has gained maturity, India has huge untapped potential in the sector.

The present study focuses on to analyse the trend of senior housing sector in India, study the view of key players or stakeholders operating in this sector in India, both from the perspective of key players or stakeholders operating in this sector and consumers perspectives. A survey of about 30 senior housing projects developers, 486 senior housing residents survey and 2,598 prospective consumers survey have been undertaken. According to the survey, around 30 per cent of the developers have been operating senior housing projects in India for about 2-5 years, 25 per cent for around 1-2 and 5-7 years each and only 20 per cent for more than seven years. This is due to the fact that senior housing is a nascent sector in India and has only taken off since the beginning of the 21st century.

Upward price movement witnessed in delhi NCR region
Magicbricks' PropIndex for April-June 2017, the most-awaited real estate quarterly report, revealed that the overall realty market scenario remained weak in the Delhi NCR region in the quarter but upward price movement was witnessed in 49 per cent localities in Delhi, 42 per cent in Gurugram, 63 per cent in Ghaziabad, 28 per cent in Greater Noida and 34 per cent in Noida. The small price movement was witnessed amongst high consumer preference localities irrespective of the budget segment. Sudhir Pai, CEO, Magicbricks.com, said, 'Our latest PropIndex saw 51 per cent rise in property seekers over the last 12 months in major Indian cities but the overall realty outlook for Delhi NCR region remained weak. Greater Noida has seen the highest quarterly price decline followed by Ghaziabad, Noida, Delhi and Gurgaon across all price segments. But we have also witnessed small price movement amongst high consumer prefe¡rence localities irrespective of the budget segment.'

Muted demand may derail cement capacity expansion
A subdued demand environment in the cement industry could put to risk aggressive ramp-up plans of manufacturers that have acquired additional capacity over the last two years, says a Kotak Institutional Equities report. According to the report, this could also lead to earnings dilution under cost realisation parameters while aggressive market share gains may affect pricing discipline.

'A moderate price ramp-up while maintaining a price discipline would lower profitability of acquired capacities,' the report added. In the last 24 months, around 42 million tonne per annum (MTPA) of cement capacities have changed hands, in which 22 MTPA are present in Central India.

In June this year, leading producer UltraTech Cement had completed its Rs 16,189 crore acquisition of Jaiprakash Associates' plants with a capacity of 21.2 MT. The report further said: 'The Street is pricing in more benign profitability and utilisation parameters while one may not get the benefit of both in a modest demand environment.'

After an 'aggressive capacity build-up' over the last decade, cement companies appear to take a breather, with only 11 companies looking to add close to 26 MTPA of capacity over the next few years.

'However, acquisition activity had increased substantially over the past two years, with continued capacity under-utilisation forcing several players to put up capacities for sale - Jaiprakash Associates being most notable among those,' it added.

'These capacities will likely be put to use with renewed vigour under new ownership and freshly infused capital,' the report said. According to the report, cement players such as UltraTech will be keen to rapidly ramp up acquired capacities to minimise earnings dilution or at least be able to service the acquisition debt.

ôWe highlight that an aggressive ramp-up of capacities will likely impact the competitive intensity in key markets, and could lead to large price disruption,ö it added. In May, ACC Ltd and Ambuja Cementsùthe two Indian units of the world's largest cement producer LafargeHolcimùhad announced plans to explore merger between themselves.

Bullet train project a boon for idle cement capacity: CMA
Indian cement sector is sitting on upwards of Rs 60,000 crore of ôsunk investment in surplus capacitiesö, but expects big infrastructure projects like high speed rail corridors, bullet train and their cascading effect to spur demand, says industry body Cement Manufacturers Association (CMA). According to CMA, the industry has 100 MT of excess capacity and so, it is in a comfortable position to supply additional demand of 3 5 mt every year coming from the big projects.

'Though the infrastructure projects are critical part of cement consumption and value chain but per se, the direct cement consumption in infrastructure projects is not so high. It only contributes 20 per cent or so to the total demand for cement,' CMA President Shailendra Chouksey told. He was fielding a query on how cement demand would change in the wake of the Government's focus on big infrastructure projects such as the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train.

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