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Transport industry is limping after demonetisation

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Kolkata, December 15: Attacking the central government over demonetisation, Goods Transport Associations on Thursday declared in unison that the transport industry has suffered a massive setback since the note ban and claimed government’s push towards a cashless economy needs serious retrospection.

The transporters stated their support for the government’s initiative in curbing the black money but said the industry was taken aback by the abruptness of the decision and is stumbling ever since.

The government should understand every cash driven industry is not equivalent to black money. There is no question of black money in the road transport industry as almost everything related to transportation is paid well in advance,” said Calcutta Goods Transport Association’s General Secretary Sunil Agarwal said at an event here.

He said that 40 percent of the freight amount in India is handled in cash.

“Several transportation aspects like toll taxes, minor repair of vehicles, loading and unloading expenditure, food expenditure of drivers etc have been paid in cash. The government should have given us time to convert to cashless system,” he added.

The Federation of West Bengal Truck Operators Association (FWBTOA) said more than 40 percent of the total goods trucks in the state have stopped plying since the note ban and warned about a complete break-down in the road transportation system if cash flow is not improved.

“If the vehicle owners were in ICU earlier, the demonitisation has pushed them to a state of coma. Out of 3.70 lakh trucks in the state, 40 percent has already stopped plying. The rest will follow shortly if the situation stays like this,” said FWBTOA’s President Subhash Chandra Bose

He appealed to the government and Reserve Bank of India to increase withdrawal limit to Rs 50,000 for a truck for inter-state transportation.

“Unlike other industries, the transport industry pays all the taxes well in advance. The road tax, toll tax, fuel tax are all paid, before a goods vehicle hits the road but the industry is not getting any relaxations in terms of cash withdrawals from the government,” he complained.

Describing the goods transport industry as the ‘blood line of the nation’, Prabhat K Mittal, the president of CGTA, suggested the government should eradicate the instances of corruption and use improved infrastructure to make the industry cashless.

“Government should take practical decisions like abolishing toll tax at least for a month as toll cards at many plazas are not working. We are also proposed to pay toll tax in advance for vehicles with national permit,” he added.

IANS

Business

India’s April industrial production output up 5%

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New Delhi, June 12: India’s industrial output rose by 4.9 per cent in April 2018 from a rise of 4.57 per cent in March, official data showed on Tuesday.

According to the data furnished by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), the corresponding growth during April 2017 stood at 3.2 per cent.

“The General Index for the month of April 2018 stands at 123, which is 4.9 percent higher as compared to the level in the month of April 2017,” CSO said in the “Quick estimates of index of Industrial Production”.

“The cumulative growth for the period April-March 2017-18 over the corresponding period of the previous year stands at 4.3 per cent.”

IANS

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McLeod Russel sign MoU to dispose of some Assam tea gardens

The company decided to dispose of certain tea estates in Assam, namely Beesakopie, Raidang, Daimukhia, Samdang, Baghjan, Bordubi, Koomsong and Phillobari.

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McLeod Russel

Kolkata, June 5 (IANS) World’s largest tea producer McLeod Russel India on Tuesday signed an MoU with city-based M.K Shah Exports Ltd to dispose of eight tea gardens in Assam for a consideration of Rs 331 crore.

The company decided to dispose of certain tea estates in Assam, namely Beesakopie, Raidang, Daimukhia, Samdang, Baghjan, Bordubi, Koomsong and Phillobari.

“…the company has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with M. K. Shah Exports Limited, having registered at Kolkata on June 5, 2018,” the tea producer said in a regulatory filing.

These gardens contributed Rs 192.76 crore to its turnover in the last fiscal, which was over 12 per cent of its last year’s revenue.

“The company proposes to utilise the sale proceeds in repayment of certain high interest bearing debts, for buying back company’s own shares from the shareholders of the company to the tune of Rs.100 crore…and making investment for diversification into packet tea business,” the company had said earlier.

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Analysis

Is your building earthquake safe? Probably not

Earthquake Resistant — Immediate Occupancy” in which the building may suffer some minor damage but there would not be any loss of life or property. “Rarely in the Indian real estate scenario buildings are designed to this category.

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Though earthquakes have wreaked havoc in many parts of the country, Indian real estate and infrastructure sector still has lots more to learn — and implement — to ensure the safety of life and property.

Although structural requirements and concerned technologies are incorporated in the building process, sector players say many modern technologies used worldwide are yet to be widely used in the country.

According to V.K. Gehlot, Director, National Centre for Seismology, “base isolation” and “dampers” are the major technologies to make buildings strong enough to resist seismic vibrations. But they are not widely used in India because of the cost involved and requirement of frequent maintenance.

Through base isolation, engineers decouple the building or the superstructure from its substructure which rests on ground, thus protecting the building during an earthquake.

Dampers on the other hand work as shock absorbers and minimise the magnitude of vibrations transmitted to the building from the ground.

The cost difference between a building with and without dampers is approximately Rs 350 per square feet, according to Major Sandeep Shah, Managing Director of Taylor Devices India.

The company is a manufacturer of earthquake-resistant equipment and he says “all developers” in the country are aware of the technology.

Shah said the company’s devices have been used in Terminal-2 of Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai, lobby block building of Apollo Hospital, New Delhi, and New Udaan Bhavan at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi.

He pointed out that “at present none of the buyers are aware that by using dampers buildings can be protected and would remain habitable even after a major earthquake. That may be the reason why no one (buyer) is asking for such buildings.” But once they are made aware, Shah was sure they would want the technology in the building they are going to live in.

According to Aunirban Saha, Director (Marketing, Construction and Sustainability) of the Saha Groupe of Companies, “most of real estate projects are designed to the grade of ‘Earthquake Resistant — Collapse Prevention’ “. That means that in the event of a major earthquake, the building would not collapse and there won’t be any loss of life. However, the building itself would not be in a habitable condition and would need to be demolished and reconstructed, he explained.

The next higher standard is “Earthquake Resistant — Immediate Occupancy” in which the building may suffer some minor damage but there would not be any loss of life or property. “Rarely in the Indian real estate scenario buildings are designed to this category,” Saha added.

The highest category of structural safety is that of “Earthquake Resistant — Operational”. Under this, there would be no damage to the property or any injury caused to its occupants irrespective of the magnitude of the earthquake.

Saha said most developers go for the first category of “Collapse Prevention” as they find it more cost-effective. Most home buyers are not aware of earthquake-related safety grades, he added.

The higher structural grades, Saha said, made more sense in today’s market scenario for commercial real estate because such properties are preferred by big multinational companies.

According to Dikshu C. Kukreja, Principal Architect at C.P. Kukreja Associates, “all leading architects of India have the knowledge and skill about the technologies available to incorporate them in our designs and construction.”

Other than dampers, structural concepts such as bracing — where X-shaped braces strengthen the columns of the buildings — and couplers — where bars are joined together — help in absorbing movement during an earthquake.

Siesmologist Gehlot says that earthquake resistance should be enforced as a default, even for small structures. Today, when building a house, 95 per cent people do not bother about earthquakes. “Our usual way of construction is that we will give it to a mason and they will start constructing,” he adds.

All that needs to change, he emphasises.

By Rituraj Baruah

(Rituraj Baruah can be contacted at [email protected])

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