Taj Palace Delhi may face auction

The Tatas’ Indian Hotels Company (IHC) may have to face stiff competition to retain the iconic Taj Palace Hotel in Delhi’s Sardar Patel Marg if the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) decides to put it up for auction after the 30-year lease with IHC expires on March 31 next year. With barely six months to go, a company spokesperson told HT: “IHC has the option to seek an automatic renewal of the existing licence for the hotel.” But DDA maintains that a final decision has not yet been taken, and sources did not rule out the option of conducting an open bid for eligible hotel chains, including IHC.

Under the original terms of the lease, IHC has the option of seeking a renewal for another 25 years for running the hotel, only if there is no pending issue over payment or if the two sides are not locked in any form of arbitration.

DDA and IHC, however, have been battling it out for the past 15 years over the terms of payment. DDA contends that the hotel chain’s accounts do not show revenues earned from various streams such as the shopping arcade, telephone recoveries, banquet income and other service charges in overall gross receipts.

DDA is of the view that the IHC carried out such an accounting exercise with the sole purpose of artificially keeping the licence fee low and minimising its payouts.

Former Chief Justice of India YK Sabharwal currently heads the arbitration panel, which includes S K Kandhari, an IHC veteran of 29 years, and Sushil Jain of the DDA.

“There is difference of opinion over certain payment issues that need to be sorted out,” a DDA spokesperson said.

IHC is also locked in a battle to keep control over Taj Mahal Hotel, located in Lutyen’s Delhi’s plush Mansingh Road, after its 33-year old lease agreement with New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) expired last year. It has since been given a one-year extension.

Comments (0) 17.09.2012. 17:37

Hotel Leelaventure plans five new properties

NEW DELHI: Hospitality chain Hotel Leelaventure is considering to open five new properties to strengthen its presence across the country.

The company, which currently has seven hotels across India, is considering new properties at Agra, Ashtamudi, Jaipur, Bangalore and Noida. Besides, its 326-room new property in Chennai is expected to be completed by the third quarter of the current financial year.

In an investor presentation, the company said it is considering expansion through a mix of company-owned and managed properties.

It, however, did not specify the investments required for the new properties nor the time line for their operationalisation.

Elaborating its plans, Hotel Leelaventure said it is considering to build a 5-Star deluxe hotel at Agra with a co- investor with a room capacity of 110, all of which will face the Taj Mahal.

The hospitality chain is also considering to set up a luxury resort of 15 floating villas and 25 other villas totalling to 40 rooms with a co-investor at Ashtamudi in Kerala.

The company said for the new Jaipur property, it has signed a management contract. It will be a a 58 villa resort and development of the project is being undertaken.

It further said that for Bangalore, a letter of intent (LoI) has been signed with Bharatiya Group which is developing a multi-use complex in a SEZ of 120 acres.

The project envisages a Leela Hotel with 250 guest rooms, Leela Residences with 150 residences and a convention centre admeasuring about 45,000 square feet, all to be managed by the Leela Group, it said.

"For Noida an LOI has been signed with one of the leading developers in Noida, who are setting up a mixed use complex admeasuring about 70,000 sq mtrs. The project envisages the Leela Palace Hotel with 250 guest-rooms and the Leela residences with 100 units," it added.

The company's current properties are located in Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore, Udaipur, New Delhi, Gurgaon, and Kovlam. While some of these are company owned others are under through management contracts.

Comments (0) 09.09.2012. 17:34

Joint Statement issued by India and Pakistan

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan H.E. Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar and the Minister of External Affairs of India H.E. Mr. S.M. Krishna met in Islamabad on September 8, 2012, for a meeting to review progress in the Dialogue process.

2.The Ministerial level talks were preceded by a meeting between the Foreign Secretaries of Pakistan and India on September 7, 2012.

3.The talks were held in a cordial, candid and constructive atmosphere.

4.The Ministers reviewed the status of bilateral relations and expressed satisfaction on the holding of meetings on the issues of Counter-Terrorism (including progress on Mumbai trial) and Narcotics Control; Humantarian issues; Commercial & Economic cooperation; Wullar Barrage / Tulbul Navigation Project; Sir Creek; Siachen; Peace & Security including CBMs; Jammu & Kashmir; and promotion of Friendly Exchanges.

5. The Ministers noted that the dialogue process is guided by the commitment of leadership of the two countries, expressed at the highest level, to find peaceful and mutually acceptable solutions to all outstanding issues and to build a relationship of trust and all round cooperation between Pakistan and India.

6. The Ministers expressed satisfaction at the increase in high level bilateral exchanges between the two countries since their last meeting in New Delhi in July 2011, namely, leadership level meetings between President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at New Delhi and Tehran in April and August 2012, the first ever bilateral visit of the Speaker of Lok Sabha to Pakistan at the invitation of the Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, visit of the Commerce Minister of Pakistan to India, after 35 years, in September 2011, another visit by the Commerce Minister of Pakistan to India in April 2012, and the first ever bilateral visit of the Commerce and Industry Minister of India to Pakistan in February 2012. The Ministers underlined the importance of continued high level exchange between the two countries.

7. The Ministers held substantive discussions on the whole range of issues within the framework of the Dialogue process and expressed satisfaction over the progress achieved since their last review meeting in July 2011.

8. The Ministers reaffirmed the importance of carrying forward the dialogue process with a view to resolving peacefully all outstanding issues through constructive and result oriented engagement, and to establish friendly, cooperative and good neighborly relations between Pakistan and India.

9. The Ministers agreed that terrorism poses a continuing threat to peace and security. They reaffirmed the strong commitment of the two countries to fight terrorism in an effective and comprehensive manner so as to eliminate the scourge in all its forms and manifestations.

10. The Ministers noted the commitment given by Pakistan during the Interior/ Home Secretary talks in May 2012 to bring all the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror attacks to justice expeditiously in accordance with due process of law.

11. The Ministers noted that during the Interior/ Home Secretary talks in May 2012 Indian side had conveyed that the investigation in the Samjhauta Express blast case is still ongoing and updated information will be shared with the Pakistan authorities, through diplomatic channels when the investigation is completed.

12. The Ministers welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on “Drug Demand Reduction and Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotics Drugs/ Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals and related matters’ between the Anti Narcotics Force of Pakistan and Narcotics Control Bureau of India in September 2011 and expressed the hope that the MoU will help enhance mutual cooperation between Pakistan and India through effective and sustained steps to control the growing menace of drug trafficking.

13. The Ministers welcomed the release of prisoners and fishermen, including those suffering from ailments, in the past year or so. They agreed that the Agreement on Consular Access should be implemented in letter and spirit including immediate notification of arrests by either side, consular access to all persons within three months of arrests, release of prisoners within one month of completion of sentence and confirmation of their national status. The Ministers also welcomed the continued work of the Judicial Committee and agreed with the need to implement its recommendations on various aspects of release and repatriation of prisoners and fishermen of each country by the other and adoption of the humane approach in dealing with cases of fishermen and prisoners, especially women, elderly, juvenile, and those terminally ill or suffering from serious illness or physical/ mental disability.

14. The Ministers noted that talks were held between the Director General of the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency and the Director General of the Indian Coast Guard in New Delhi in July 2012 and agreed to the importance of continuing their meetings. They further directed that the issues relating to fishermen as contained in para-10 of the Joint Statement issued after the Interior/Home Secretaries talks between Pakistan and India in March 2011 would be further examined by the relevant authorities of the two countries.

15. The Ministers welcomed the decision during the last meeting of the Home/ Interior Secretaries of the two countries in May 2012 to initiate discussions in order to strengthen mutual cooperation in criminal matters.

16. The Ministers attached importance to promoting Peace and Security, including Confidence Building Measures, between the two countries and agreed to convene separate meetings of the Expert Groups on Nuclear and Conventional CBMs, in New Delhi in the second half of December 2012.

17. The Ministers held discussions on the issue of Jammu and Kashmir and agreed to the need for continued discussions, in a purposeful and forward looking manner, with a view to finding a peaceful solution by narrowing divergences and building convergences.

18. The Ministers reviewed the existing Cross-LoC CBMs and acknowledged that the ceasefire was holding since 2003. They also reviewed the implementation of the decisions taken regarding travel and trade across the Line of Control (LoC) in their last meeting in July 2011. They expressed satisfaction at the increasing number of people of Jammu and Kashmir who are able to avail of the facility to travel across LoC, and also at the growing Cross-LoC trade benefitting them on both sides of the LoC. They also welcomed the enhancement of the number of days for conducting trade across LoC from two to four per week, as had been agreed by them. Taking note of the recommendations made by the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Cross-LoC CBMs in its meeting in Islamabad on July 19, 2012

Comments (0) 09.09.2012. 17:17

South Africa woos Indian tourists

Kolkata, Sept 7 (IBNS): South Africa is hard selling its destinations to Indian tourists who are in their festive moods and waiting to spend leisure in exotic holidays abroad.

After the road shows in cities like Mumbai, Ahmedabad and New Delhi, South African Tourism commenced their second road show in Kolkata on Thursday.

The road show was announced at a city hotel by Hanneli Slabber, who represented South Africa as the Country Manager of South African Tourism.

According to Slabber India proved to be a very important market place for the world.

The commencement of these road shows will help South Africa to popularise holiday experiences, with corporate interests, she said.

Slabber said the road shows will help bring out some new grounds of travelling which could satisfy the needs of the potential tourists with good quality of products, suppliers and trusts.

She told reporters that this year South Africa will be expecting more than one lakh tourists the country.

As per the latest statistics in May, 2012 the rate of visiting South Africa by Indians has reached 22.3% , which indicates a big leap and most of the visitors are from Delhi.

The country manager of South Africa was also very hopeful that the diplomatic relation between the two countries can be in a better position.

Presently there are no direct airways in between South Africa and India. So some future proposals also are in the talks in regard to benefit the tourists.

Slabber said South Africa is spreading out Indians their delicious vegetarian and non vegetarian food items in some 300 restaurants.

Comments (0) 09.09.2012. 17:08

Sir Nowroji Saklatwala

sir nowroji saklatwalsSir Nowroji Saklatwala (1875 - 1938) was the non-Tata chairman of the Tata group from 1932 till his sudden in 1938 death due to heart attack.

He was son of Bapuji Saklatwala and Virbaiji Tata. His mother Virbaiji Tata was sister of Jamshetji Tata.[2] He completed his studies from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai[3] and joined business in 1899 and worked closely with Dorabji Tata.[4] When Dorabji died in 1932, he became the Chairman of the Tata group, who had task of consolidation of group after Great Deepression.

He also was closely connected with Indian cricket and had played for Parsees team during year 1904-05. But left playing active cricket due to his business pre-occupations. As a cricket player he represented the Parsees against the Europeans in 1904.

He was the first Chairman of Cricket Club of India since its inception in 1933, till his death in 1938 and was instrumental in development of Brabourne Stadium, for which he also donated a large sum of money.

Comments (0) 09.09.2012. 16:56