Sunday, November 28, 2010

Ifs and buts not Good for MIHAN project, say Experts-TIME OF INDIA

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Ifs and buts not Good for MIHAN project, say Experts-TIME OF INDIA

NAGPUR: Experts and stakeholders have a mixed view on Mihan. Even as industrialists and traders want it to happen soon, a section of players in the logistics business question the feasibility of such an ambitious project. There is a pressing demand for the government to come out clear on the fate Mihan, as many hopes, especially in the realty market, are attached to it.

"It is time that the pending issues are cleared and there is a clarity over the fate of the project which has taken an unimaginable delay. Specific information should be made available about the plans over major investments like the $100 million maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) depot by Boeing," said Pravin Tapadia, president of the Vidarbha Industries Association.

Tapadia also called for running the MADC like a business corporate venture and even tapping the capital market. "The show here should be managed like a commercial organization with profit as a clear motive. This would perhaps lead to a faster implementation," he says.

Shivkumar Rao, the president of the Confederation of Indian Industries' (CII) Vidarbha Council, says though Mihan has been planned as a cargo hub where planes from different directions will land and redistribute the cargo, "the present conditions are not very encouraging for such a concept".

"Currently a higher amount of cargo is generated from the south and west while north and east lag behind. So, if planes from all four directions are to land here and redistribute the load, there are will not be enough planes from north and east to take back the cargo. There will be a major mismatch," Rao added.

However, the president of Boeing India, Dinesh Keskar is very optimistic. "This problem can be overcome by altering flight schedules," he says.

According to Keskar, the hub and spoke model has been successful in the US where FedEx and United Parcel Service operate in a similar manner. "Over there even if a parcel has to be reached just 100 kms away from the place of origin, it will first reach the hub from where it will be distributed. Such a model helps in reducing the overall duration of travel and leads to operational convenience," he added.

It needs a critical mass to develop such a project and lately it is India which is seen to have a potential for it. "Given its geographical location, Nagpur is the ideal site," said Keskar.

Rao, on the other hand, said that such a project will also need to have cargo generated from the place where it is located. "Though a special economic zone has been planned for the purpose the MADC has allotted land only to information technology companies and software parks where there is no physical transport of cargo," he said.

Leader of the project affected persons (PAPs), Baba Dawre has claimed the cargo hub can be an environmental hazard. It is not advisable to have such a set-up where several planes will land and take off so close to the city. Dawre is from the Shivangaon village which has been earmarked for the crucial second airstrip. The second airstrip will be used by the Indian Air Force (IAF) when it shifts to a new location. The IAF will not shift till the second airstrip is ready, which is also vital for the Boeing project to come up.

Residents of Shivangaon have been strongly protesting the takeover. Earlier they demanded a compensation of Rs 35 lakh an acre but now they are also pressing the airstrip to be deleted from the plan itself. "Let the SEZ come up and there is no need for the Cargo Hub," he said.

Read more: Ifs and buts not good for project, say experts - The Times of India

Saturday, November 27, 2010

VJAS demands CBI probe in First City Housing loan scam by VijayaBank-HITAVADA

VJAS demands CBI probe in First City Housing loan scam  by VijayaBank-HITAVADA

*90% Finance to First City is illegal, contrary to RBI norms
**Housing loans to outsiders flouting BoA decision is mega scam, alleges VJAS

Staff Reporter
After the bribe-for-housing loan was unearthed by CBI sleuths in which top finance executives were arrested, the Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) has requested the CBI to probe "highly improper loan scheme extended by Vijaya Bank to First City project of M/s Reatox Builders." The VJAS has also requested Union Finance Minister, Reserve Bank of India and Finance Secretary to probe the role of Vijaya Bank top officials and find out whether there was any unholy nexus between developer and Bank, since the builder was offering flats within SEZ area to general public, flouting all norms.
According to VJAS, the Vijaya Bank has agreed to finance upto 90% of the housing value, which is contrary to Home loan norms finalised by RBI. No bank can lend more than 80% of the total value of the housing unit, the guidelines issued on November 3 has stated. Already petitions have been filed before High Court alleging massive land scam in MIHAN-SEZ Nagpur promoted by Maharashtra Airports Development Company (MADC), Kishor Tiwari of VJAS pointed out while expressing surprise as to how a nationalised bank can show such a generosity towards First City project, which too is under cloud for selling flats to outsiders.
In fact, the Board of Approvals (BoA), the apex decision making body for SEZ, had consistently maintained that no developer or co-developer can sell the land or residential dwelling to any outsider and housing units can be leased only to the employees working with SEZ and extended this principle to First City coming up at MIHAN-SEZ promoted by MADC, the VJAS pointed out. But with help of free finance by Vijaya Bank this malpractice is continued hence we want RBI intervention, Tiwari demanded. By extending housing finance to purchasers other than employees of MIHAN-SEZ, even when the Centre has removed all ambiguity and has ruled that housing units within SEZ could be utilised only by persons directly connected with SEZ establishments and SEZ employees, Vijaya Bank has over-stepped its jurisdiction, the VJAS pointed out.
The Union Commerce Ministry (SEZ Division), in its latest guidelines for development of Special Economic Zones issued on October 27, 2010, has stipulated clearly that housing facilities created in non-processing area of SEZ could be used only by "persons who are working for establishments relating to SEZ developers, units and or are users of infrastructure facilities created in the SEZ," Tiwari stated.
Describing the housing finance by Vijaya Bank to First City project as another "mega housing loan scam," VJAS has requested CBI and RBI Governor to probe the role of
Albert Tauro, Chairman and Managing Director of Vijaya Bank. The complaint alleged that Vijaya Bank had extended credit to MADC on a condition that R C Sinha be continued as Managing Director and Vice-Chairman of MADC. This is very shocking and surprising as Sinha’s role in allotting land at a throwaway price to Satyam Computers when he himself was Chairman of Maytas- a sister concern of Satyam, VJAS complaint pointed out.
The VJAS has requested RBI to probe "Vijaya Bank housing loan scam in MIHAN-SEZ Nagpur promoted by MADC and stop ongoing mega finance to illegal housing and other projects in MIHAN-SEZ, Nagpur."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

VJAS ask CM to order CBI probe against MADC, First City developer-HITAVADA

VJAS, activists ask CM to order CBI probe against MADC, First City developer
Staff Reporter
Apparently annoyed over brazen violation of directives issued by Board of Approvals (BoA) of Union Commerce Ministry to MADC and M/s Reatox Builders which is coming up with First City within MIHAN-SEZ area, not to sell residential units to outsiders, several organisations and activists have demanded stern action and fair probe into the issue.
Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti has charged the MADC bosses and M/s Reatox Builders with wanton irregularities and demanded a CBI probe into the alleged scam. Looking into the seriousness of the issue of allotting subsidised land, relaxation of all conditions, granting extra land at throwaway price and now open sale of flats, is nothing short of a major scandal and deserves thorough probe and CBI inquiry, the VJAS demanded in a detailed complaint dashed to new Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on Saturday.
M/s Reatox Builders bagged 31 acres of land for Rs 72 lakh per acre when a nearby land owned by the Patel family fetched a whopping Rs 2.55 crore per acre in one of the most expensive land deals in the region. If that is a market bench-mark, then the MADC could have earned close to Rs 75 crore from promoters of ‘First City’ project. Instead, the Government company received only Rs 22 crore. Who is responsible for this loss of Rs 53 crore? Several social workers of repute have alleged that MADC Vice-Chairman and Managing Director R C Sinha needs to come clean on this issue, since he has been the virtual face of MADC and MIHAN-SEZ all along.
MADC had permitted M/s Reatox to consume 2.5 FSI for ‘First City’ project within the SEZ to construct houses for "persons directly connected with SEZ." M/s Reatox Builders had planned 18-storied towers, but the Airports Authority of India (AAI) curtailed the height since it was in aircraft landing funnel area. Ostensibly to compensate for this loss of five floors in each of the proposed twelve towers, M/s Reatox got an additional tract of 10 acres of land, which surprised many.
"We are happy to note that you are keen to provide clean administration in Maharashtra and eradicate corruption hence I am forwarding the very serious issue regarding brazen abuse and on going corruption in MIHAN Nagpur by M/s Reatox Builders and Developers, in sale of upcoming First City residential project in MIHAN-Special Economic Zone. First City developers have not been authorised to lease the residential units also to persons from outside the SEZ area, as per law of the land but they are befooling people through major publicity campaign by claiming that they have been empowered by MADC to sale the flats to anybody in the world.
"These malpractice’s are being promoted by one of the nationalised bank by giving 90% loan as against Reserve Bank of India norms which set a limit on home loans, limiting the loan amount to 80 per cent of the property value," the VJAS complaint stated while expressing surprise as to how can a nationalised bank go beyond RBI guidelines. A separate complaint has been lodged already with the Union Finance Ministry and RBI.
Tiwari has urged Chvan to expedite the probe ordered by his predecessor and, if necessary, order a CBI probe.
Vigilant citizen Anil Wadpalliwar, too, has demanded immediate and stringent action against MADC bosses and First City Developers. The Chief Minister should intervene and stop the illegal construction and sale of flats to gullible public, he demanded while seeking an impartial probe into all land allotted by MADC MD R C Sinha. Since Chief Minister is ex-officio Chairman of MADC, he must ensure that his personal image is not tarnished due to First City Scam, Wadpalliwar has stated in his complaint.
Prof. Ajay Patki of Swadeshi Jagran Manch has demanded complete audit of land allotted within MIHAN-SEZ. Citing recent Vedanta judgement of Orissa High Court, Prof Patki stated that audit will reveal, malpractice’s and favours, if any, shown to a chosen few.
Several organisations which have already approached High Court against MADC’s land scam and particularly lands allotted to Satyam and First City, too have demanded stern action against erring officers and developers violating all norms.

MIHAN-FIRST CITY SCAM-Commerce Ministry removes all ambiguity: Housing within SEZ only for employees -Hitavada

By Manish Soni
After receiving several complaints about misuse of subsidised land within SEZ area by housing projects, the Centre has removed all ambiguity and has ruled that housing units within SEZ could be utilised only by persons directly connected with SEZ establishments and SEZ employees.
The Union Commerce Ministry (SEZ Division), in its latest guidelines for development of Special Economic Zones issued on October 27, 2010, has stipulated clearly that housing facilities created in non-processing area could be used only by "persons who are working for establishments relating to SEZ developers, units and or are users of infrastructure facilities created in the SEZ."
The guidelines signed by G Muthuraja, Under Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, have directed all developers of SEZs to ensure that "Developer should rent out these houses to the employees of units. The units could take these houses on long-term lease for renting out to their employees. In case a unit, having houses on long lease closes down, these can be transferred to other working units or the developer."
In fact, the Board of Approvals (BoA), the apex decision making body for SEZ, had consistently maintained that no developer or co-developer can sell the land or residential dwelling and extended this principle to First City coming up at MIHAN-SEZ promoted by Maharashtra Airports Development Company (MADC).
The Developer shall not sell the land in a Special Economic Zone," this is the mandatory provision of Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Act and rules framed thereunder. Therefore, the BoA in its meeting held on July 13, 2010 had directed the MADC to remove the "condition of sale" from the agreement between developer (MADC) and co-developer (M/s Reatox Builders) as well as from the Power of Attorney granted by MADC to M/s Reatox Builders which is coming with First City in MIHAN-SEZ. The Department of Revenue had consistently objected to open sale of housing units by developers and demanded that the condition of sale must be removed from agreement between developer and co-developer, as well as from power of attorney granted by MADC.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Despite CAG indicting MADC boss R C Sinha for land allotment to Satyam, why Govt, Oppn are silent

Despite CAG indicting MADC boss R C Sinha for land allotment to Satyam, why Govt, Oppn are silent

-First come First Serve Basis allotment led to removal of A Raja, but Sinha, who is indicted by CAG on same ground, got an extension as MADC Vice-Chairman and MD?
-CAG report blames MADC for extending undue benefit of Rs 20.21 crore to Satyam Computer Services Limited by sale of land at lower rates
-Incidentally, R C Sinha was Chairman of Maytas Infra, a sister concern of Satyam when the land and adjoining lake was allotted to Satyam, attracting CAG rap

By Rahul Pande

WHILE the Opposition is insisting on strict action against ex-Telecom Minister A Raja in the 2G spectrum allotment scam after the Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) report confirmed the massive loss, the very same opposition is conspicuously silent over another major scam unearthed in a CAG report revealing loss of Rs 20.21 crore in land allotment to Satyam Computer Services Limited by MADC MD R C Sinha. The CAG report was tabled in the budget session of Maharashtra Assembly in April 2010 which clearly blamed MADC bosses for causing massive loss to the State Government and indicted them for granting an “undue benefit” of Rs 20.21 crore to Satyam Computer Services Limited (SCSL). The “First come First serve” basis which attained notoriety in 2G spectrum scam, was also used by MADC while allotting land to Satyam and invited stringent criticism from CAG. The CAG report had also slammed MADC for land allotment to a chosen few without formulating a proper policy and without approval of its own Board.
Incidentally, Sinha was Chairman of Maytas Infra Limited (a sister concern of Satyam promoted by the now incarcerated Ramlingam Raju) and hence the matter became all the more serious for clash of interest and allotment of prime land to Satyam. In fact this clash of interest and involvement of Sinha in MADC and Maytas has made the matter far more serious. But curiously, the ruling party and the opposition, which usually leaves no chance to attack the Government, remained tight-lipped for reasons best known to them and Sinha continues to be the Managing Director of MADC and joint venture Mihan India Private Limited (MIPL), in which MADC has 51% stake, while Airports Authority of India has 49% stakes. The MADC registered MIPL as private limited company and was rightly pulled up by Union Civil Aviation Ministry for this blunder. In effect, a private limited company, accountable to none, became owner of the airport with its assets. Ironically, Sinha who retired a decade ago, was granted extension, again without permission of the High Court, which is mandatory according to the judgment of Aurangabad bench of Bombay High Court.
This scandal became murkier when farmers and social activists revealed that MADC had allotted land to Satyam in such a manner that a 130 acre lake would be automatically in possession of Satyam without paying a penny. The MADC was never able to justify the action and feebly claimed that they badly required an anchor project for MIHAN and hence concessional rate was offered to Satyam.
The CAG report made it crystal clear that Satyam was given land at a rate much lower than the existing market price for the MIHAN. And Satyam was given the concession without the approval of the board of directors of the Maharashtra Airport Development Company (MADC), nodal agency for the project.
The land in question was forcibly acquired from the farmers for a pittance and the CAG report had clearly established as to how Sinha allotted land to Satyam- while he remained head of its sister concern, again at a throwaway price, without following rule book.
While selling land to various companies to establish their facilities at the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Mihan, the rate finalised by the board of directors was Rs 24.28 lakh per acre.
However, SCSL was given land at the rate of Rs 18 lakh per acre. It resulted in a loss of Rs 6.28 crore for the MADC, and subsequently for the government. On the other hand, Shapoorji Pallonji and Company Limited (SPCL) had to buy land at Rs 26.3 lakh per acre — a rate higher than the quoted price.
After the first deal at a discounted rate in 2005, SCSL made a request for additional land. The company was allotted 28.06 acres of additional land at the rate of Rs 22.35 lakh per acre in March 2007. This was again done without the approval of the board of directors.
The market price during 2005-06 was Rs 72 lakh per acre, as offered by a private developer for the non-processing zones. The irregularity led to a revenue loss of Rs 13.93 crore. The total loss in the two deals was Rs 20.21 crore, the CAG report has said.
In its clarification to the CAG, the MADC management has said that the first allotment to SCSL and the SPCL deal was not made on the same day. However, the CAG refused to buy this logic.
“Advertisement for the land was given in December 2004, while the Centre approved the SEZ in August 2005. It is true that the allotments to SCSL and SPCL were not done on the same day, but both proposals were approved in the same meeting on December 5, 2005,” the report said.
Sinha continued to be non-Executive Director and Chairman of Maytas Infra Ltd till January 2009 and tendered resignation of directorship and chairmanship of the company after the Satyam scandal rocked the country and its founder Ramalingam Raju was arrested for the biggest corporate fraud.
According to some social activists, R C Sinha had admitted that he was director of Indu Developers and has been on Bengal Ambuja board for eight years. This company is a joint venture between West Bengal Housing Board and the Gujarat Ambuja Cements Limited. Indu Developers and Ambuja Realty are reported to have been allotted Mihan land at much cheaper rates, the activists claimed. This has apparently raised a serious question-mark over land deals struck by Sinha and various companies in which he was occupying high positions.

Satyam and Maytas

Ramalingam Raju, founder of Satyam Computers floated another company-Maytas Infra by reversing alphabets and Sinha was Chairman of Maytas till January 2009. Incidentally, Satyam after purchasing land surrounding lake at highly concessional price and entire lake without paying a single penny, did not proceed any further. The land is lying idle since last five years and apparently the detailed project report was not submitted. As per the Industrial land allotment policy, the company has to start operations within three years and follow its project report, but Satyam has done nothing till today.

Friday, November 5, 2010

BJP involvement in 'ADARSH LAND SCAM' creates problem for Nitin Gadkari

BJP involvement in 'ADARSH LAND SCAM' creates problem for Nitin Gadkari

BJP leaders’ relative owns flat in Adarsh

After the Congress, the NCP and the Shiv Sena, now Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders are getting linked to the controversial Adarsh housing society in Colaba.
Paramveer Abhay Sancheti, who is related to some senior BJP leaders, has been allotted a flat in the 31-storey tower, which has been built flouting environmental norms.
Paramveer is related to the BJP’s Malakapur legislator, Chainsukh Sancheti, as well as the party’s Mission Jharkhand in-charge, Ajay Sancheti.
When contacted, Chainsukh denied that he had any links with the society, but he did not deny his relationship with Paramveer.  He ended the phone conversation abruptly and he did not answer calls later.
State BJP spokesperson Madhav Bhandari said Paramveer was a distant relative of the MLA. “I don’t deny that Paramveer and his father are BJP sympathisers,” he said.
Ajay, who is member of the BJP’s national executive and a close confidant of party president Nitin Gadkari, said Paramveer is the son of his distant uncle. “Paramveer’s father Abhay is my father’s cousin and I in no way influenced the society to give him membership,” said the businessman from Nagpur. “Abhay is also Chainsukh’s father’s cousin.”
Ajay said Paramveer’s family also lives in Nagpur. Paramveer and his father Abhay could not be contacted.
Krishnarao Bhegade, who was with the BJP a few years ago, also has a flat in the society, but it could not be confirmed whether his membership was approved while he was with the BJP.

Earns Rs 8,600 per month, owns Rs 5-cr flat

Shalini Nair Posted: Nov 05, 2010 at 0213 hrs
Mumbai Defence officials, bureaucrats, politicians and their relatives, it seems, are not the only ones to have secured apartments in the controversial Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society in Mumbai’s Cuffe Parade, one of Asia’s most expensive patches of real estate.
Investigations by The Indian Express have found that the 103 members in the 31-storey building include a driver employed in a Nagpur-based infrastructure company, whose Managing Director is a Special Invitee to the BJP’s National Executive Committee.
The name of the driver, Sudhakar Laxman Madke, 50, appears in the 2003 membership list of Adarsh alongside that of his employers: Abhay H Sancheti, Chairman of SMS Infrastructure Ltd; Vice-Chairman and Managing Director Ajay Sancheti; and Joint Managing Director Anand S Sancheti. The 43-year-old firm is one of the largest infrastructure firms in central India and is involved in the construction of highways, railways, dams and in coal mining.
But the names of the three Sanchetis were not approved for membership by City Collector I A Kundan — who herself has an apartment in Adarsh — on the grounds that their monthly salaries were between Rs 1 lakh and 4.5 lakh, which is well above the income limit of Rs 12,500 specified under rules.
State government rules stipulate that civilians seeking membership of a housing society coming up on government-allotted land should not have a monthly salary of more than Rs 12,500. This aims to ensure that preferential allotment of flats should benefit people who cannot afford expensive houses in the financial capital.
Documents with The Indian Express show that Madke remained on the list for the sea-facing apartments costing upwards of Rs 60 lakh as his monthly salary was Rs 8,600, including a basic salary of Rs 2,550. The market value of his 650 sq ft apartment today is around Rs 5 crore.
Four years later, in 2007, Paramveer Sancheti, the then 19-year-old son of Abhay Sancheti, tried to get on the Adarsh membership list. However, even his application was rejected in July 2008 by Kundan.
This time, she cited rules that mandate that an applicant’s income eligibility should be decided based on the entire family’s income over a 36-month period and Paramveer’s family income over this duration exceeded the prescribed limit.
But exactly a year later, in July 2009, another letter signed by Kundan says that Paramveer’s name had been approved for inclusion as a member of Adarsh. Kundan refused to respond to any questions related to Adarsh when contacted today by The Indian Express.
While Madke could not be reached for his comments, Abhay Sancheti denied his company’s driver was being used as a proxy owner for an apartment in Adarsh. “We decided to loan money to Madke. Since property values in Mumbai are very high, he can rent the house and easily repay his loan. As for my son, I can shell out the cost of his flat,” Sancheti told The Indian Express
sources close to sancheti brothers reveled that Madake's flats has been gifted to BJP National president by AJAY SANCHETI and this is reason whole BJP will be on back foot in coming days and cover up operation  has already started at all party level.