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‘Unlock 1’: Hotel industry welcomes move, will follow health safety SoPs

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DELHI LOCKDOWN

New Delhi, May 31 : India’s hotel industry has welcomed the Centre’s norms under ‘Unlock 1, which allow them to re-commence operations.

These norms are part of the fifth phase of the nationwide lockdown which was announced on Saturday for the containment zones till June 30, providing relaxations for the hotel industry from June 8 onwards.

This phase relaxes many restrictions on businesses.

Hotel Association of India Vice President K.B. Kachru said: “The pandemic and consequent lockdowns have had disastrous impact on the hotel sector.”

“We welcome the government’s decision to allow restaurants, hotels and malls to open in areas outside the containment zones from June 8. We hope this landmark decision will pave the way for graded resurgence of the hotel industry,” Kachru said.

He urged the Centre to consider setting up of a Tourism COVID 19 Fund for en abling the tourism industry to meet its salary and working capital needs.

Major Industry player such as Ritesh Agarwal, Founder & Group CEO – OYO Hote ls & Homes said: “We welcome the government’s decision to reopen hotels. We are excit ed and prepared to host guests with the new sanitised stay experience.a

Similarly, Nakul Anand, Executive Director, ITC, and Chairman of the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH), thanked the Centre for reallowing the commencement of business operations of hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services under Unlock 1.

“We welcome the government’s decision to reopen hotels. We are excited and prepared to host guests with the new sanitised stay experience. At OYO, our topmost priorities are maintaining health, hygiene & well-being of our guests and staff. Right from our app to hotel teams, we are working to ensure proper sanitisation of hotels as well as maintaining social distancing with the guests. We are displaying a ‘Sanitised Stays’ tag for properties that clear background audit checks for sanitisation, hygiene, and protective equipment. We along with our asset partners, look forward to delivering a safe, secure and comfortable experience for our guests,” said Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and Group CEO, OYO Hotels & Homes.

On its part, Merrill Pereyra, Managing Director, Pizza Hut Indian Subcontinent, said: “This is a welcome announcement from the government and all our stores are fully prepared to serve the valued customers. All our stores are equipped to offer contactless dining wherein right from accessing the menu to making payments, the process will be digital.”

According to Ankur Bhatia, Executive Director, Bird Group: “We are already pushed to the wall. A little more extension of lockdown would have done irreversible economic damage. We welcome the government’s move to allow us to operate.”

In a statement, Zubin Saxena, Managing Director and Vice President, Operations, South Asia, Radisson Hotel Group, said: “We are looking forward to resuming operations within the government guidelines.

“Apart from hygiene, our go forward business model is concentrated on leveraging the synergies of our network which we believe will work in a sustainable manner to ensure business uplift overtime. We remain dedicated to exceeding guest expectations in the new era of hospitality that awaits us.”

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Airtel deploys Nokia’s open Cloud-based VoLTE network

According to Nokia, the network supports over 110 million customers, making it the largest cloud-based VoLTE network in India and the largest Nokia-run VoLTE in the world.

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New Delhi, July 6 : Nokia on Monday announced that its CloudBand-based software products have started powering Bharti Airtels Voice over LTE (VoLTE) network in India.

Finnish telecom gear maker firm Nokia in April bagged a deal worth more than Rs 7,500 crore from Bharti Airtel to deploy 5G ready network across the country.

According to Nokia, the network supports over 110 million customers, making it the largest cloud-based VoLTE network in India and the largest Nokia-run VoLTE in the world.

“Nokia”s carrier-grade cloud software solutions drive simplicity and flexibility and will further strengthen Airtel”s solid 5G network foundation and transition to innovative digital solutions that are customer and experience centric,” said Bhaskar Gorti, President of Nokia Software and Nokia Chief Digital Officer.

The cloud-based VoLTE deployment allows Airtel to provide its mobile customers faster and more reliable, cost-efficient call connectivity.

Nokia, which is the largest 4G vendor in Airtel network, will help lay the foundation for providing 5G connectivity in the future by deploying 300,000 radio units across several spectrum bands in all 22 telecom service areas expected to be completed by 2022.

Nokia”s VoLTE solution enables Airtel to free up spectrum by ramping down its 3G network, allowing the operator to utilize the freed up spectrum to deploy 4G/LTE services for better speed and capacity.

“We are delighted to deepen our strategic partnership with Nokia to build a future ready and agile network. The country”s largest open cloud based VoLTE network is a major milestone in Airtel”s journey,” added Randeep Sekhon, CTO of Bharti Airtel.

India currently is the second-largest telecom market in the world and is expected to reach 920 million unique mobile customers by 2025, which will also include 88 million 5G connections according to the GSMA.

The country is experiencing a massive increase in demand for data services with traffic increasing by 47 per cent in 2019 alone, according to Nokia”s MBiT Index 2020.

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SEBI norms tweak boost chances of CG Power resolution

There are complaints pending in SEBI against KKR for violation of the Takeover Code and SEBI is investigating the violation.

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New Delhi, July 6 : The relaxation by SEBI in pricing methodology for listed companies having stressed assets has brightened the prospects of early resolution of CG Power.

SEBI has decided to relax the pricing methodology for preferential issues by listed companies having stressed assets and exempt allottees of preferential issues from open offer obligations in such cases.

CG Power, a large engineering company having its operations worldwide and having a consolidated turnover of more than Rs 6,200 crore and an EBIDITA of Rs 500 crore in 2018 and which is asset rich ran into financial problems amidst a controversy between erstwhile promoter Gautam Thapar and its lenders KKR and L&T Finance who had lent money against pledge of the promoter”s holding.

Gautam Thapar was removed on an allegation that funds were diverted in a convoluted manner to lenders of other group companies.

In view of the controversy, bankers refused to support requests for working capital. Due to shortage of working capital, the profitability was severally affected in spite of pending profitable orders.

Lead banker SBI has mandated SBI Capital Markets to carry out a resolution process and it is expected that invitations for EOI will be announced very soon.

Lenders have shown willingness to restructure the debt and monetise valuable non-core assets like Crompton House at Worli and valuable land at Kanjurmarg. As part of the restructuring exercise, CG Power sold its holding in CG Power Ireland.

It is learnt from reliable sources that many industrial groups like Sunil Mittal of Bharati Telecom, Muruggapa group, Aeon Capital and many PE funds are actively considering a buyout. Sunil Mittal through Bharati SBM Holding had shown interest and bought 8.30 per cent equity from the market between March 2019 and May, 2019.

There are complaints pending in SEBI against KKR for violation of the Takeover Code and SEBI is investigating the violation.

SEBI has stated this in its order dated March 11, 2020 that there has been a specific allegation against KKR, a private equity firm, which holds 8.10 per cent of the shares in the Company, through KKR India Financial Services Private Limited, with respect to market manipulation, insider trading and change in control of the company.

They also note that certain allegations have been made against Narayan Seshadri, an Independent Director on the board, with respect to his firm Tranzmute”s partnership with KKR. SEBI is independently looking into these complaints. In case the investigation finds any violation it can result in an open offer around at Rs 45.

–IANS

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Veggies on the rise, prices soar by up to 200%

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New Delhi, July 5 : The prices of food items, including vegetables, have started to skyrocket even as the coronavirus crisis shows no sign of abating. The prices of vegetables, in particular, have increased quite significantly with retail prices of almost all kinds rising from 25 per cent to 200 per cent.

The most significant rise has been registered in the price of tomato. Vegetable traders say prices have risen due to crop failure during the rainy season.

Azadpur Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) chairman Adil Ahmad Khan told IANS that the prices of most green vegetables have registered an increase in the past one month, due to reduced arrivals during the rainy season. According to Khan, another reason for rise in prices of vegetables is due to increased diesel price. “Vegetable traders point out that the cost of transportation of vegetables has increased due to diesel being expensive,” he said.

However, Greater Noida retailer Munendra also sells vegetables at a higher price though he does not have to bear the cost of transportation to bring vegetables from his farms to shops. Munendra has cultivated brinjal, gourd, bitter gourd, lady”s finger, cucumber etc on his farm which is just a kilometer away from his shop. Munendra said the crops usually perish in the rainy season, which also reduces the yield. This is why the prices of vegetables are increasing, he said.

Vijay Ahuja, an agent at Okhla Mandi, said that in the rainy season, the arrival of vegetables reduces every year, due to which the prices keep rising.

Now, compare vegetable prices in the month of June and July.

Prices in the month of June (Rs per kg):

  • Potatoes – 20-25
  • Cabbage – 30-40
  • Tomatoes – 20-30
  • Onion – 20-25
  • Gourd – 20
  • Cucumber – 20
  • Pumpkin – 10-15
  • Brinjal – 20
  • Capsicum – 60
  • Prices in the month of July (Rs per kg)
  • Potatoes – 30-35
  • Cabbage – 60-80
  • Tomatoes – 60-80
  • Onion – 25-30
  • Gourd – 30
  • Cucumber – 50
  • Pumpkin – 20-30
  • Brinjal – 40
  • Capsicum – 80
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