Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has kicked off an exercise to gauge the extent of bad loans of banks in the real estate segment

Impact of the subprime crisis in the US and Europe on Indian banks :

The latest exercise seems to be a follow-up on the meeting that RBI had with banks during the second week of September to discuss the impact of the subprime crisis in the US and Europe on Indian banks.

RBI officials wanted to assess whether Indian banks had any exposure to such loans while attempting to gauge the impact of the crisis on the broader Indian economy. In fact bankers have been told to keep central bank officials posted of any developments, including marker rumours.

Bad Home Loans :

RBI now wants to have a fix on the level of bad loans in the banking industry, especially relating to home loans and commercial property. It has commissioned a survey on bad loans in both residential mortgages and commercial real estate loans. The regulator has sought details on standard advances in the sector from banks for three fiscals — 2001-02, 2002-03 and 2003-04. RBI wrote to some banks on September 14, directing them to respond to queries by September 28, bankers said.

The impact of a higher interest rate :

Banks have been told to furnish details of bad loans generated during 2004-05, 2005-06 and 2006-07. RBI wants banks to submit details of all such loans at the end of March 31, 2005, 2006 and 2007. The impact of a higher interest rate on borrowers and consequent default gets reflected only with a bit of a lag. Bankers reckon that this could be the reason for the regulator calling for data of loans which had originated a few years ago.

Aggressive lending :

Commercial banks have, over the past four years, been lending aggressively to the real estate sector. In fact, for several banks lending to residential mortgages constitutes over 50% of their total retail exposure. Outstanding real estate loans for banks, according to RBI data, rose from Rs 13,546 crore in March 2005 to Rs 45,328 crore at the end of March 2007

During the last couple of years, RBI has clamped down excessive lending by banks to the real estate sector on fears of an asset price bubble.

Related Stories :

1. Role of the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) in the growth and slowdown of the Indian real estate market

2. "Sale of residential property dropped by over 70 percent in May-June 2007," the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry report

3. Rise and Fall of Subprime Lenders Began on Wall Street

Indian real estate and construction major Unitech Ltd has decided to enter the country's burgeoning telecommunications market

Unified access services in 22 telecom circles :Unitech is planning to do so with a bang, with eight of its subsidiary companies submitting applications to provide unified access services in 22 telecom circles across India. A 'unified access services' licence allows operations using several telecom technologies, including GSM and CDMA.

Growth : Taking these decisions on record at the 21 September 2007 meeting of its board of directors, the company's directors "noted that the continuous rapid growth in India's telephone services business indicates the enormous potential for future growth in this business."

Why get into intensely competitive telecom business? : The Unitech board believes that the group has synergies with telecom. The board resolution says an entry into telecom "would help boost the group's telecom and transmission tower manufacturing business. Thus, investment in this sector would provide immense potential for value addition to the group." The group is in the process of tying up finances as well as technology partners for its telecom plans.

Parsvnath, another real estate group, has also applied.

Unless industry, government, and the local body work together to evolve a broad framework of infrastructure development in Tier II and Tier III towns,

they will run into problems before long.

Warns Mr. V. Jayanth in 'The Hindu' and emphasizes on the physical and social infrastructure.

The National Association of Software and Service Companies (Nasscom) has identified Chandigarh, Pune, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Mangalore, Mysore, Kochi, Coimbatore, Madurai, and Tiruchi, all second tier cities and towns, where development must take place.

Expectations of the industry and the investor :

Going beyond the listing in "The FICCI-Ernst and Young Indian Real Estate Report" concerned people expressed their views. Mr. V Jayanth says, "In general terms, they want better physical and social infrastructure."

A senior official of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) said, "Some industries and sectors have tried the SEZ type of development, but there appears to be a mixed response. Employees and their families do not want to be out of a town or thrown into a closed gated community. Though they welcome residential colonies, they still prefer to be an integral part of a town or society — not to live by themselves. They do not want to see the same faces day in and day out."

Yes, that's why in Pune, people are happy to pay even Rs. 4,000 to 5,ooo per sq.ft. in a single stand alone building project in Kothrud. Because they know here they can enjoy all the benefits of living in Pune which they will not get in a big integrated township in Hadapsar or Kharadi.

Cognizant’s Managing Director and President R. Chandrasekaran said,"Availability of ‘A’ category commercial real estate space, preferably with SEZ notification, good roads, airport with good connectivity, and good hotels, is important. Even if one or more of these may not exist initially, visible efforts to develop them in parallel become important. Otherwise, the initial enthusiasm will die down and companies may not grow in these locations.”

Kolhapur should take Mr. Chandrasekaran very seriously and not let the enthusiasm die and realize their long awaited 'dream' of becoming an IT town. After all planning and its implementation hold the key. Yes, not only planning, planning and "implementation" hold the key. Otherwise, it becomes a never ending story of a Ring Road in Pune.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Indian real estate is no longer relying purely on the IT sector to grow. Biotechnology could be the next big driver

Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj report :

An estimated 100 million sq. ft of space would be required by the biotechnology industry by 2010. As in the case of IT, biotech parks would house manufacturing units within a self-supporting, integrated complex.

Growth :

6 biotech parks in India are already functioning, and 19 more are in the pipeline. The Indian biotech industry registered a 33% increase in 2006-07, and is slated to achieve USD 5billion in revenue in 2010, and create a million jobs.

Investment :

Biotechnology, with investments having trebled in three years between 2003 and 2006. In 2003, Rs 14 crore was invested and in 2006, the figure more than doubled to Rs 36 crore.

Location :

Biotechnology is expected to push up demand for biotech hubs in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune and the NCR.

Global Corporations :

Apart from domestic biotech players like Biocon, Panacea and Wipro, global players are also present in India. International firms like Glaxo Smithkline and Pfizer are investing in the industry, which will boost real-estate demand.

Incentives :

100 per cent foreign equity investment
Customs duty exemption
100 per cent tax rebate on resource and development expenditure
The report says various incentives offered by the government have made this sector attractive.

Biotechnology Policy :

Karnataka was the first state in India to announce a "millennium" biotechnology policy as early as 2001 to promote this sunrise industry.
Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh followed it with their own biotechnology policies during the year.
Later other states like Haryana (2002), Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh (2003), and Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan (2004) and Gujarat joined the bandwagon by announcing their respective state policies.

One of the salient features of these biotech policies is setting up of dedicated biotech parks.

Though Karnataka was the first to announce a Biotech plan for the state, it was Andhra Pradesh, which seized the opportunity.

Shapoorji Pallonji (SP) Biotech Park :

The Andhra Pradesh government was able to put its act together to identify and develop the facilities for biotech entrepreneurs. It entered into a public–private partnership with Shapoorji Pallonji & Co Ltd with 11 percent equity stake and incorporated Shapoorji Pallonji (SP) Biotech Park Pvt Ltd (SP Biotech Park) for developing and managing the Park at Shamirpet, near Hyderabad.

International Biotech Park (IBP), Hinjewadi, Pune :

Similarly the Maharashtra government too adopted a public-private partnership model for developing the biotech park in the state.

110- acre International Biotech Park (IBP) is a joint venture project between the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) and TCG Urban Infrastructure Holding Ltd (TCGUIH), a Chatterjee Group company.

With a total investment of Rs 250 crore in the project, MIDC will hold approximately 12 percent of the paid-up capital while TCGUIH will hold the remaining 88 percent.

Pune Infotech Park-Phase II is located, adjacent to PIP-Phase I, spread over a staggering 600 acres

Kharadi Knowledge Park is located close to the airport and within easy access of Pune Cantonment area.

For detail information, please, visit Mahabiotech website of Maharashtra Biotechnology Commission.

Pune Real Estate :

Thanks to MIDC! Pune real estate never had to rely on any single industry. Pune real estate has a team of drivers; Small scale industries, auto industry, biotechnology, IT, Health care and education (industry?) !

Indian property developers may raise $4.7 billion selling shares this fiscal year, more than the amount raised in the past 2 years: Ernst & Young

India may have a shortage of 45 million homes by 2012, according to the Ernst & Young study, which cited National Housing Bank estimates.

Indian developers need more funds to build more houses :
Ernst & Young study :

DLF Ltd., biggest Indian real estate developer, raised $2.2 billion in June.
6 others, including Housing Development & Infrastructure Ltd. and Omaxe Ltd., raised $1.5 billion in this year.
Indians are spending more of their rising incomes on houses.
Indian economy is growing at an average of 8.6 percent for the past 4 years.
Construction of houses accounts for 80 percent of the real estate industry.

Ganesh Raj, a senior partner, Ernst & Young :

``There has been an increased focus from the developer side on strategic alliances, creation of land banks, geographic expansion and raising capital to fund their extensive development pipeline,''

Moody's Investors Service :

India's real estate sector is forecast to grow to $90 billion by 2015 from $12 billion in 2005.

Mudhol Land Holdings launched Cybernex, 45000 sq.ft. IT office complex with 90% floor efficiency, on Shankerseth Road, Pune

Cybernex has been designed inside out, care has been taken to reduce spaces wasted in lobbies, common areas, outdoor ledges, ducts etc. So for every square foot of space you lease at Cybernex, you’re assured 90% of actual working space. Generally, the carpet area (or the actual usable space consumers get), is between 65% to 75% of the total area paid for.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Vijay Sinh Maurya, MD & CEO, MLH said, “We have realized that most companies need visibility and signage on a main road, rather than being stuck in a huge IT park and remaining incognito and we also realized that transport is a big expense for most companies (transporting manpower by indicabs etc). Being on an arterial road and located near residential areas of Pune, employees find it easier to commute to work.

He further added, “Cybernex is in the CBD of Pune. We have an established infrastructure of Power, Water and other utilities. In fact we are the only building that is power surplus.

Keeping in mind the clients requirements – MLH started by getting a world class project team to design and then construct Cybernex. The uniqueness being that we designed the building inside out ie. starting from the service areas, to the actual usable areas, and finally the common areas. So the design that came forward made sure that we utilized the maximum space for the end user and not the common areas and passages which becomes an additional cost and maintenance for the client.

Our floor plans work out to an unbelievable 90% efficiency. Example a typical floor of @ 7500 sq.ft built up area has a carpet area of 6750 sq.ft. In layman terms it means that you need to lease lesser space to accommodate more people. All our interior layouts, which we recommend to our clients, have been optimized for maximum efficiency.

Cybernex, a novel offering from The Mudhol Land Holdings Co. Pvt. Ltd. (MLH). MLH is a land consolidation company - implementing cost effective methods in optimizing the intrinsic values of their holdings. MLH proposes to make its mark on the Pune skyline with a number of innovative projects across the city. On the anvil is another prime commercial complex on Shankerseth Road and Vimannagar. All in all, MLH is unleashing a new trend of superior value in the real estate industry in Pune.

It’s an innovation that’s certain to attract IT/ITES companies who are always on the lookout for quality space for their growing business. What’s more, Cybernex offers many more advantages. The location is a big advantage – being so central and in close proximity to Swargate and MG Road. It also offers ample parking space and 100% power backup. Maintenance will be taken care of by the owners of the building which shall ensure a quality ambiance in the long-term.

(IndiaPRwire.com press release)

Did you know that DSK has acquired about 18 acres of land in New Jersey and construction of over one lakh sq ft is on?

Yes! Pune-based D S Kulkarni Developers has floated a fully-owned subsidiary in Delaware, USA, to develop residential and commercial projects. DSK is the first organized sector real estate player from India to make a foray in the US market.

DSK family houses are selling for USD 1.3 to 1.5 million which is quite a big amount even by American standards.

Company chairman D S Kulkarni told PTI the idea was to cater to the demands of the Indians settled there. However, a large number of non-Indians have also queued up to buy the houses being constructed by the company.

The company has already invested Rs 80 crore on the US foray and plans to invest another Rs 100 crore over the next one year. Incidentally, the company had posted turnover of over Rs 300 crore last fiscal and about Rs 80 crore in the first quarter this year.

Kulkarni conceded the profit margin in the US market is much less compared to what it is in India. But felt it is steady and reasonable.

When asked about the experience of doing business in the US, he said it was quite hassle-free. The country has the best regulations. Rules are clear cut. And standards already set. If you follow the rules, doing business is easy, he said.

When asked as to why he opted to go to US when the market here is booming, Kulkarni said though the land is difficult to come by, the land prices have gone down there recently and thus it is right to buy land there. We wanted to go international anyway.

"If I were a manufacturer, I would have exported my products. Since I am a developer, I have opted to construct houses there," DSK said.

He said the company has plans to enter the UK and Australia and expects a much larger part of the company's turnover to come from the overseas activities.

As regards its domestic operations go, the company has completed about 12.5 mm sq ft of development and is presently close to 30 mm sq ft of area under development. The group currently has 12 projects in various cities like Pune, Mumbai, Nasik and Bangalore, Kulkarni added.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Euronext NA-listed Yatra Capital, an India-focused real estate fund, is planning to raise a fresh capital of €150 million (Rs840 crore)

Investment in tier II, III and even in tier IV cities :

This will be Yatra’s second fund. The first fund of €100 million was raised in December 2006. Since raising its initial capital, Yatra has committed to or acquired investments totaling €88.4 million, mostly in tier-II cities such as Pune. Yatra has so far invested in 10 properties in tier-II and III cities.

It also is evaluating opportunities in smaller tier-IV towns. “We are waiting for the government to change the regulations and allow foreign direct investment to come into smaller developments,” said director of Yatra Capital Ltd. and managing director of Saffron Capital Advisors, Ajoy Veer Kapoor.

Joint venture with Kolte Patil Developers Limited, Pune :

Residential : Yatra's first investment in Indian real estate. Yatra has committed up to €21.6 million in equity for a 49% stake in a joint venture which will initially develop 3 residential sites in Pune.

Investment Opportunities : All three localities are within the key corridors of growth in Pune and located next to the commercial and technology related developments. This investment in Pune underlines Yatra’s stated strategy of investing in fast growing Indian cities where the board believes there is the greatest opportunity to deliver growth and subsequent shareholder value.

Kolte Patil : is a leading and well established real estate development company in Pune. Kolte Patil was incorporated in 1991 and since then has focused on Pune and Bangalore. At December 31st 2006 Kolte Patil had developed and constructed 25 projects, of which 22 have been in Pune and three have been in Bangalore.

IT Park : Kolte Patil is an ISO 9001 certified development company and received the Government of Maharashtra’s First Prize for “Best IT Infrastructure in the State of Maharashtra” for their landmark GigaSpace IT Park project in Viman Nagar, Pune. Kolte Patil has a strong management team which is led by Mr. Rajesh Patil.

Joint venture with Ashok Ruia Enterprises Pvt Ltd (AREPL) :

Market City, Pune : Yatra Capital has announced that it has picked up a stake in a joint venture to develop a 1.5 million sq feet shopping centre, Market City, in Pune. This Market City is designed by the architect of Bluewater, Europe's largest shopping centre.

Shopping : The Market City development will be amongst the largest shopping centers in Pune, which with a population of 4.5 million, is over 4 times larger than Birmingham, the UK‟s second largest city.

Equity : Yatra will invest €17.24 million ($23.5 million) in equity for a 24 per cent holding in the company promoted by Ashok Ruia Enterprises Pvt Ltd (AREPL). This is the 4th investment in India by Yatra, and the 2nd in a JV with AREPL.

Concept : Phoenix’s “Market City‟ concept envisages retail-led large scale developments typically located in city center locations. Phoenix plans 7 such market cities of a total size of 15 million sq ft in India.

Value :

Yatra announced it's 1st investment In India, in Kolte Patil, in May 2007. Certainly, long before publishing the surveys and reports about growth and investment opportunities in tire II and III cities became a fashion or a publicity gimmick. What Ernst and Young - FICCI and Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj are doing? Following Yatra and IndiaREIT? Whatever! Personally, I value Yatra's strategy and action!

Related Stories :

1. Europe's largest shopping mall developer Plaza Centers will pump in Rs 5,000 crore in India

2. Future Group's Kshitij Venture Capital Fund, piloting retail real estate development will launch its first malls at Ahmedabad and Vadodara in January

3. Compared to other Asian markets like China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand; "India is an excellent investment destination": FICCI-E&Y survey

4. 11 tier II Indian cities, such as Surat, Chandigarh, Nagpur, Vadodara, Visakhapatnam and Jaipur, are emerging as growth and investment centers: survey

5. Real estate fund IndiaREIT is planning to come out with a $500 million offshore fund to invest in properties in Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad

6. HDFC, GE Capital, Indiareit and now 'Taj Business Hotels' join hands with Paranjpe Schemes' integrated township at Hinjewadi in Pune (India)

7. Och-Ziff Capital, New York, has got into a JV with Marvel Realtors, for a Rs.500 crore luxurious residential project in Pune



Tuesday, September 25, 2007

For the proposed ring road project, Pune Municipal Corporation would have to bear land acquisition cost to the tune of Rs 409 crore

PMC, PCMC and PWD :

The total land acquisition cost is estimated to be Rs 855.4 crore, which will be shared by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) and the Public Works Department of Government of Maharashtra (PWD).

PMC :

As per the details furnished to the standing committee, the 64.94 km of the 117.52-km proposed ring road either passes through the PMC jurisdiction or adjoining areas.

Land Acquisition Process :

"The entire land acquisition process will take time and a further delay in decision will also increase the expenses. Thus, the civic administration should be permitted to carry out the land acquisition work of its share at the earliest," Pravinsinh Pardeshi, Municipal commissioner, has said in the proposal.

Time :

Mr. Pardeshi, 'earliest' means when? Why don't you be specific? We are talking about 'land acquisition'! You know, how much panic these words create among my beloved leaders. Give them some time. Be specific and tell them when do you wish to start the land acquisition work. In 2010? After all, we are talking about the ring road for last 2/3 years!

BJP :

The ring road project was earlier surrounded by controversies with the BJP strongly criticizing it on the grounds that the state government should bear the expenses. The Shiv Sena and the Congress too had later opposed the project and had sought details.

Police commissioner A.N. Roy :

Citing examples of other Indian cities across which have benefited from ring roads, Roy said the ring road would divert heavy vehicles away from the city, and reduce accidents and congestion.

Roy recommended the urgent need for a Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA) to oversee the future development of the city.

He cited the example of the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA), which recently earmarked Rs 5,000 crore for urban public transport.

Roy, who was addressing a seminar on traffic management organized by the city police and the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA)

Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) :

The ring road project would be executed by the Public Works Department. It will be done on a build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis.

The Pune Municipal Corporation and the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation will facilitate the project only by undertaking the land acquisition process.

The money spent by the two corporations on acquiring land will be recovered from the agencies which get the contract to execute the road work. Thus the project will not be a burden on the civic exchequer. In August, Municipal Commissioner Pravinsinh Pardeshi gave this information while addressing a training workshop of the newly-elected corporators at Yeshwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration (Yashada).

TOI:'Change in alignment in favor of the 14 planned townships' :

Times Of India published a report pointing out that the alignment of the ring road as recommended in the commissioner's proposal did not match with the one recommended by the surface transport ministry and that it excluded the easterly and westerly bypass links.

The report had also pointed out that the ring road proposal was likely to be rejected as the three main political parties in the PMC - BJP, Shiv Sena and the Congress - were opposed to the project, arguing that it was drafted in favour of the 14 townships planned in the villages along the ring road.

Ajit Pawar,guardian minister and nephew of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, strongly refuted the charges made by the opposition parties, arguing that the townships had already developed link and approach roads by spending Rs 12 crore.

Traffic Information :

The ring road will essentially benefit residents of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad by diverting the through traffic. According to a 2004 survey of through traffic, as many as 20,000 out-bound vehicles pass via the internal roads in the city.

The survey has established that every year, there was an increase of 5 per cent in the number of out-bound vehicles passing through the city.

Today, the share of out-bound traffic on Pune's internal roads is a staggering 30 percent and 80 per cent of these out-bound vehicles are trucks, Mr. Pardesi said, stressing the need for the ring road.

CIRT pushes two-tier road system :

The Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT)had prepared a report, "Traffic and Economic Analysis of the Road Improvement Project in Pune Metropolitan Region", and had submitted to the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC).

In it's report CIRT had suggested establishment of a two-tier system of ring and arterial roads to ease congestion, effect savings in terms of operational and time costs, and ensure safe and comfortable motoring.

Economic :

1. Economic Internal Rate of Returns (EIRR): The CIRT's R. Ramakrishna, Vaishali Gijre and A.V. Anand predict a economic internal rate of returns (eirr) as high as 42 per cent. The experts calculate savings of Rs 11.6 crore a mere three years after the new traffic management system is in place.

2. Foreign Exchange : There would be an estimated $ 20 million in foreign exchange savings annually on fuel costs alone.

3. Financial Viability : EIRR is used as a benchmark to assess whether or not investment proposals for an urban network of roads and flyovers are financially viable. It also calculates and includes benefits accruing from savings in vehicle operating costs and time.

4. Savings : According to Ms. Gijre the saving of travel time and fuel has to be calculated in the actual cost of the construction of the flyovers. "as per our estimation, the economic benefits to commuters from the flyover construction should come after three years of its completion. The first three years will only recover the construction cost," she says.

Anil Kumar Lakhina's "Magic Plan" of 2004 :

Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation’s (MSRDC) managing director Anil Kumar Lakhina had came out with a magic plan costing Rs 1000 crore that promises to "transform Pune" in the next three years. (in 2007!)

Pune Development Plan : In an interactive session with the members of the Pune chapter of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on 'Pune Development Plan' Mr. Lakhina said:

MSRDC : will spend Rs 250 crore on building 14 flyovers, 10 railway over bridges and two river bridges besides completing the ring road around the city which will reduce the traffic volume.

PMC : will be required to spend Rs 750 crore on restructuring and widening roads, building missing links, encroachment removal, pedestrian facilities, subways, vehicle free areas, cycle bridges, synchronizing traffic signals, building truck terminals, bus depots, parking areas and acquiring 600 Euro II buses for public transport.

Speed : The project will have a quantum impact on traffic condition in Pune as out of the total 3.9 lakh PCUs entering/leaving Pune, about 1.8 lakh PCUs will not use PMC’s road infrastructure.

This will create 50 per cent additional road space which will improve the average travelling speed of Punekars by 100 per cent.

Lakhina pointed out that currently the average travelling speed in Pune was 8 km per hour.

Funding : Explaining how the required funds can be raised, Lakhina stated that contribution from PMC, toll and petrol/diesel cess would help. "We will have to think about modern financing methods like securitising PMC funds for 10 years"

Growth : Lakhina said "ultimately we have to compare the cost to the cost of doing nothing" particularly in view of the fact that Pune was slated to grow at 8 per cent annually.

Cost and Benefit Analysis :

Yes! Mr. Lakhina and Mr. Pardeshi, see by doing nothing we have contributed in the growth of other cities. In a way, we helped the nation to prosper. We may not have succeeded in the diverting the traffic but diverting the growth is not a small achievement! Jai Maharshtra! Jai Hind!!



Museum at Yerwada Jail to showcase PoonaPact to mark the 75th anniversary

The authorities have decided to preserve the place where the Poona Pact — a treaty between Babasaheb Ambedkar and Mahatma Gandhi about reservations to the 'depressed class' — was signed.

The pact was signed in the Gandhi Yard under a tree. The jail is collecting documents pertaining to the pact, which will be displayed in the Yard. Apart from fresh entries pertaining to Mahatma Gandhi, the jail authorities have collected entries of Jawaharlal Nehru and the iron man of India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

read more | digg story

Related Stories

1. Take a walk with Soumik inside the Yerawada jail, Pune

Yerawada jail is the second largest prison in the country spanning across 52 acres of land and housing more than 3000 inmates. Approximate turnover of this jail is around 5.4 crore per year.

Soumik has taken these 20 photographs. I have blogged them individually so there are 20 blogs. These photos are very much appreciated by all for two reasons. First, because they are excellent, yes, Soumik is a talented professional photographer! Second, i blogged them when Hindi film star, Sanjay Dutt, was in the Yerawada Jail!

1. Main Gate 2. Inmates are making uniforms for the police force. 3. Display of the garments. 4. Warehouse of carpentry workshop. 5. Shoes for police. 6. The leather workshop. 7. The carpentry workshop, outside. 8. The carpentry workshop, inside. 9. Inmates inside their workshops. 10. The hand loom 1. 11. The hand loom 2. 12. The hand loom 3. 13. The hand loom 4. 14. Hand loom made of cycle wheel. 15. Dyed cloth. 16. Dying cloth 2. 17. Dying cloth 3. 18. Prisoner in dying unit. 19. Inside the compound. 20. Inside the compound.

2. It was not the kind of ‘independence’ Gandhiji wanted, he was in mourning.



Monday, September 24, 2007

"Sahil Resorts and Spa is investing Rs 1,000 crore in upcoming projects at Pune, Navi Mumbai, New Delhi and Goa," Vinay Phadnis

IPO and FDI :

"Sahil Group will be going in for an IPO in August 2008 to fund the investment," said chairman and managing director, Vinay Phadnis. Sahil Group is also looking at the FDI option.

The group envisages an investment of Rs 1,000 crore for its expansion. Rs 400 crore will be utilised to acquire land and the remaining amount will be utilised for construction.

Parikh & Parikh Associates :

US-based investment group led by Mr Raj Parikh, engaged in real estate and hospitality business with interests in international hotel groups such as Holiday Inn, Radisson Worldwide, Hilton International and Choice Hotel International, were planning to invest (in Oct. 2006) Rs 60 crore through the FDI route, in the residential projects of the Sahil Group.

Sarovar group, Radisson and Mandara Spa :

Sahil owns two properties in Lonavala and Alibaug. Sahil Sarovar Portico in Lonavala is managed by the Sarovar group. In Alibaug, Sahil has tied-up with Radisson for management and international chain Mandara Spa will manage its spa.

Alibaug property is expected to open in November this year. It will be the Asia's biggest five-star spa and resort.

Mandara : Immortality and Youth!

The name Mandara refers to an ancient Sanskrit myth: the quest to discover the precious elixir of immortality and eternal youth. Mandara Spa is considered a sanctuary of nature, where the essentail elements of life are cherished.

Different from any other spa in the world, Mandara Spas embrace the legend by creating an oasis of serenity and natural slendor for those seeking to replenish body, mind and soul.

Sahil Resorts, Agrifields and Farms Pvt Ltd :

A Sahil group company, engaged in hospitality services, real estate management for hotels, resorts, agrifields and farms is the first company in this field in India to get Integrated Management System certification which includes ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001:2004 and OHSAS 18001:1999.

Phadnis Infrastructure Pvt Ltd :

Another Sahil Group company undertakes design, development, construction and sales of residential and commercial buildings apart from real estate management, has also become the second company in its field to get the Integrated Management System certification.



The Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation invites developers to complete the construction of Neera-Deodhar dam in Bhor taluka of Pune

Maharashtra government approved the privatization policy in 2002 to complete irrigation projects through private sector participation. “Neera-Deodhar project will be first in the state to be built under the policy.

Scope of Work :

Sources in The Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation(MKVDC) said the developer will have to construct 200-km-long canals and four lift irrigation schemes, the cost of which is estimated to be Rs 810 crore.

The project will be done on a build-operate-transfer basis and the developer can earn profits from tourism, contract farming and fisheries.

Expression of interest :

The Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation (MKVDC) had started work on the major irrigation project in the early nineties.

Almost 95 per cent of the dam’s construction has been complete and Rs 451 crore spent. The MKVDC invited expression of interest from the developers having annual turnover of not less than Rs 400 crore to complete the project.

Water :

The dam has storage capacity of 11 thousand million cubic metres. Some 43 lakh hectares in drought-prone areas will benefit from the dam water. Water will be discharged from the dam as per the government guidelines.

Waterloo :

“MKVDC does not have funds to build the canals so MKVDC will take another 30 years to complete the work. What is the use of storing water if it is not being used for farmers?” Mr. Prakash Pawar, Executive Engineer of Neera Deodhar project said.

Almost 95 per cent of the dam’s construction has been complete but there is no water distribution network and the corporation does not have funds to build the canals.

MKVDC had started work on the major irrigation project in the early nineties. But paucity of funds and delays have forced the privatisation of the project.



Sunday, September 23, 2007

Now you can read my blog on your mobile phone! FM8579-29

Ode To The Mobile Web

Here’s a little mobile humor, courtesy of Madeleine at MAD KANE’S HUMOR BLOG

Ode To The Mobile Web
By Madeleine Begun Kane

My blog has gone mobile — how cool!
You can surf on a cellular tool
While on foot, in your car,
Or wherever you are.
Mobile web browsing — cellulars rule!

Of course you can get her blog with FeedM8

Could the Weak US Housing Market Hurt Google?

According to investment fund Oppenheimer, financial services ads accounted for about 10% of Google’s total revenue in 2006, while mortgage-related services accounted for 3.3%. For a company on track to do more than $10 billion in revenue this year, that’s a pretty sizable amount of money that could be in play should advertisers tighten up. . .



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Proposal by developers Hines and architect Pelli Clarke Pelli formally selected for San Francisco Transbay Transit Center and Tower

After a hard fought campaign, the winner has been chosen for the San Francisco Transbay Terminal.

Beating off heavy competition from Skidmore Owings and Merrill, and Rogers Stirk Harbour, the winning plans as voted by every member of the Transbay Authority's Board of Directors are by Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects with Hines as the developer.

Hines and DLF

Yes, Hines who had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with DLF</span> to form a venture to master plan and develop a site of 15 acres located on Golf Course Road in Gurgaon, India. The site is located directly across from the DLF Golf Course and its residential community known as DLF Golf Links

San Francisco Transbay Terminal

The Pelli proposal if realised in its current design will be 1200 feet or 365.7 metres tall and have a 5.6 acre park standing atop of the new transport terminal. It's design is typically Pelli with a gradually tapering glass skinned skyscraper and facade overrun for a crown resembling a smoother version of Hong Kong's International Finance Centre.

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Japanese Vending Machines: Instant Gratification to the Nth Degree

Vending machines in Japan are as commonplace as temples, bicycles, and karaoke booths. It's not uncommon to see a street lined with a dozen or more machines selling products ranging from cold and hot drinks to flowers to rice. And almost none are vandalized or non-functional. Japan has one vending machine for every 23 people.

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Rice Field Art in Japan. (PICS)

Every year, farmers in the rural town Inakadate, Japan creates rice field art by using red rice in with their regular rice in special patterns. A few others fields in rural Japan also followed the trend of this beautiful rice field art. True art, with progression from planting to plant maturity.

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How the Earth will look in 250 million years (Picture)

About 250 million years from now, tectonic plates are again projected to reposition themselves so that a single landmass dominates: Pangea Ultima.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Board of Approval, it is very unfair of you to not clear special economic zone(SEZ) proposal of DLF only because DLF does not have the land!

Not only DLF's but Unitech's proposal is also deferred, not cleared by The Board of the Approval. However, Commerce secretary GK Pillai has said, the pending proposals will be cleared once the promoters acquire land.

Employment and Investment

"So far, formal approvals have been granted for setting up of 386 SEZs, out of which 149 have been notified" Mr. Pillai said. Yes Mr. Pillai, thanks! Indian government only gives approval. But remember, it is Indian Industry that has invested over Rs 47,732 crore in these notified SEZs, not the government. Obviously, the government cannot take the credit of providing direct employment to over 40,729 persons in these SEZs.

Development

When collectively Indian Industry is doing so much for the country, what is the Government doing for the Indian Industry? Insulting it's leaders, real estate giants DLF and Unitech, by not clearing their SEZ proposals only because they do not have possession of the land! Mr. Pillai, you are not only unfair to the Indian Industry but you are also doing injustice to the citizens of India.

Procedure

How can you be so rude to those who are doing so much for the country, and for the citizens? Why can't you see the love every promoter of the SEZ has for India? Why don't you give up your bureaucratic mentality? Why don't you stop being procedural? Why don't you understand who's country it is?

Possible

Give up those outdated socialistic ideas, ownership is not a crime anymore. Do not treat someone like this because he feels he owns the country. When the whole India is yours, taking possession of the land is only a formality, which can be done anytime. After all, DLF and Unitech were not planning SEZ in Pakistan occupied Kashmir or West Bengal!

If legally, in 2007, promoters of SEZ can acquire the land under Section 6 (1) of the Land Acquisition Act 1894, then as per your policy, is it impossible to get the consent of the farmers to the compensation package by other means? No, not at all! So there is no reason to worry about taking possession of the land!

Prospects

Are you aware about what will happen if you keep on doing this? Someone may give up his mission to serve India by educating the masses and will be back on the road, selling soap. Yes, if Gurcharan Das is not there, then who will teach the masses that "SEZ is good for the country!" How will the people understand what a great sacrifice government is doing for them? Government is not going to give up it's plan to develop the country. It is ready to give up the country! Unfortunately there is no body to take the entire India, so government is giving small portions to anybody who is ready to take.

Best for you!

True, after some years, if they really develop it, then some parts of India will be more developed and prosperous than the other parts of the country. But everybody knows five fingers are not of the same size and every family in India always wishes for at least one rich relative.

When every thing is so nice, why are you, Mr. Pillai, so disrespectful to the angels of prosperity?

Related Story

Why Special Economic Zone (SEZ) promoted by a real estate developer is destined to fail?

Market watch: Play it again, Sam

It's a sense of Deja vu; the asset reflation theme is back in play. The way things are shaping up again is so familiar. Money is going to be cheap again as the decks get cleared for another round of global asset-price inflation. I call it the 'vaccine' syndrome: The poison and the cure are the same. Cheap money creates the problem and cheap money is the chosen way out of the mess.

The dollar's weakness and cheap money are both fuels that will stoke the commodity fire. Real estate prices too should rise, at least in theory. Commodity and realty stocks have already started responding in the last two sessions.

Realty is truly high beta so you will see very sharp swings, maybe even irrational ones but they have the baggage of high valuations and demand (and supply!)issues to grapple with. But the reflation trade is on and it may make sense to swim with the flow, at least for a while.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Regional Airport, one more good news for Kolhapur real estate!

Mr. Patil, marketing manager of Parnjape Schemes, had worked and studied Kolhapur real estate market for many years. He thinks long cherished dream of 'Kolhapur becoming IT Destination' is soon going to be the reality! Obviously, all Pune real estate developers are going to Kolhapur! Paranjape Schemes is already there for many years but Mantri, Kumar, Naiknavare are also in Kolhapur! Now, this news about regional airport. I think, i should start Kolhapur real estate blog!

Of course, Kolhapur has an air strip and regular passenger services are conducted from Kolhapur. Mr. GR Gopinath, MD, Deccan Aviation, said in an interview that Belgaum, Kolhapur are great cities and they will act as a feeder plan to tier II cities for Kingfisher customers.

Shri S.D. Mandlik in his speech "Need for taking over of Kolhapur Airport by Airport Authority of India." in the Lok Sabha had said:
"The Kolhapur air port is located in agricultural production zone. The items like flowers, mangoes of various varieties, hand crafted goods, variety of Jaugary and hand crafted silver ornaments are being exported from Kolhapur and surrounding districts like Sangli and Ratnagiri through Mumbai Air Terminal.

In addition to above various industrial machine and parts are also being exported from Kolhapur Industrial Estates of Shiroli, Gokul Shirgaon and Kagal. Kolhapur district also has 22 spinning mills and majority of them manufacture export quality yarn which is also exported from Mumbai. The District also boasts of 18 functional sugar mills and therefore has a potential of heavy passenger traffic."

Now, Radio Mirchi, Tomato FM, Malls and IT park, Damania's new Flying club lots of things are happening in Kolhapur!

The Maharashtra government plans to establish an international airport in Pune district to meet the growing demand-supply gap for aviation services

At last, the state government has nominated The Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation(MIDC) as the nodal agency for developing the new airport. MIDC, in turn, has engaged IL&FS Infrastructure Development Corporation as strategic adviser for the project. It has called for "expression of interest" from consultants to conduct the techno-economic feasibility study for the project.

MIDC has issued a request for proposals from companies for developing regional airports in Latur, Baramati, Yavatmal, Nanded, Osmanabad, Kolhapur and Amaravati, according to tender documents posted on the government website.

Finally the New York Time swill stop charging for access to parts of its Web site

The move comes two years to the day after The Times began the subscription program, TimesSelect, which has charged $49.95 a year, or $7.95 a month, for online access to the work of its columnists and to the newspaper’s archives. TimesSelect has been free to print subscribers to The Times and to some students and educators.

In addition to opening the entire site to all readers, The Times will also make available its archives from 1987 to the present without charge, as well as those from 1851 to 1922, which are in the public domain. There will be charges for some material from the period 1923 to 1986, and some will be free.

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Why Renting is Better than Buying a Home: even in Pune, India!

When you rent, most people mistakenly assume the decision is made out of necessity, not rationality. But there is a very good reason to rent in today's bubble-stricken market: median incomes do not support median home prices.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Now even the scientist are saying we're scr3wed with the Subprime mess

America's love affair with consumption has been a big source of economic stimulus for a long time. But the party might be about to end. Americans' overextended wallets could trigger the most severe downturn in economic activity seen since at least the 1980s — and possibly since the Great Depression.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"Magarpatta City in Pune could be the model for a land acquisition and rehabilitation policy of The Confederation of Indian Industry ", Sunil Mittal

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), which has set up a committee to chalk out a land acquisition and rehabilitation policy, may suggest giving of shares to those displaced by land acquisition for industry.

Sunil Mittal, chairman and CEO of the Bharti group and CII president, said the Magarpatta model in Pune under which those who lost land were made a part of the area’s development, and issuance of shares by the Jindals in West Bengal, could become models.

"Congratulations!"
Who am i congratulating? What do you think? Am i congratulating Mr. Satish Magar, M.D. of Magarpatta City? No!

I am congratulating The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)! I am congratulating each and every honorable member of the committee! I am congratulating Mr. Sunil Mittal!

"Congratulations! What an intelligent decision!"
Sorry, CII committee has not come to a decision. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) "may suggest". So what? Still, they deserve congratulations!

"Mr. Sunil Mittal, may i suggest something?"
Yes, i want to suggest to him, not because i am one of the happy subscribers of Airtel or not because i am proud of Magarpatta City as many Punekars are. But only because when i was in KG, Miss Mary had told me that when i will become a big boy, i should tell what i see to those who can not see!

"Mr. Sunil Mittal, why don't you do one thing, why don't you send your committee members to Nanded and talk to the villagers? Oh! yes, i can understand your problem. When this SEZ was not there members of your association had to manipulate only politicians. Manipulating citizens of India was done by the politicians. Your members do not have hands on experience, i can understand.

But, Mr. Sunil Mittal, you all are learning new skills very fast. For example, if Jamsetji Tata would have been here today, he would have had thought of manufacturing cell phones in India and would have wasted his energy like Ratan Tata, who is obsessed with the idea of manufacturing 1 lakh rupees' small car. But you are smart. You said forget about manufacturing. Indians do nothing but talk so let them talk all the time and in a very short period of time, you became one of the richest persons in India. Very smart of you!

Please, boost the moral of your members and send them to Nanded. Yes, do not forget to tell them one more thing. It is very obvious that a person who has gone to school or college and runs an industry will take more time to understand any simple thing than the illiterate farmers of the small village!

So do not feel shy and ask the villagers of Nanded, why did they opt for Magarpatta Model and what are they getting out of their 700 acre township. Alternately, if your people wish to do an in depth study of the issue they can visit Avasari Khurd village. Because from Pune Nanded is only 20 km but Avasari Khurd village is 40 km.

You all are welcome to visit the villages anytime only on one condition. You have to bring along with youMr. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee. Yes, the Chief Minister of West Bengal who is always nagging your friend Mr. Sajjan Jindal, vice-chairman and managing director, JSW Steel. Why? How can you ask why? Wouldn't you like to show the last communist, Stalinist Emperor how farmers unite and form their own SEZ? Come on, do not miss this chance of taking a sweet revenge. You all have tolerated them enough!

Mr. Sunil Mittal, i am sure about one thing, after talking to the villagers of Nanded and Avasari Khurd your committee members could make a firm and final policy decision about following Magarpatta Model.

But, i am not sure whether your friends would be able to form the SEZs before the villagers of India pool their own land and form their own SEZs on the Magarpatta Model!

P.S. Mr. Sunil Mittal, this is for your eyes only! Thanks to Mr. Sanjeev Batra for this presentation:


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