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Saturday, November 24, 2007

MSEZ need of the hour

Mangalore : Prabhu paradoxically said that the proposed SEZ was an ‘Environment friendly SEZ’. Calling it the law of the land, Prabhu said that pains of 5 to 10 per cent of people cannot be considered when the project holds huge promises to 90 per cent of the people.

Addressing the gathering, MSEZ Chief operating Officer A G Pai reiterating Swami Vivekananda’s statement “He lives who lives for others and the rest are all dead” said that after Srinivas Mallya probably nobody else lived by this statement.

Pai said that agriculture might have been the main source of livelihood for people but its contribution to the Gross Domestic Production is only 26 per cent. Hence, industrialisation is essential and MSEZ is the need of the hour to provide opportunities for the local youth and prevent brain-drain.

He said that no matter what the media says, no matter what the ‘so called’ environmentalists say and no mater how much ‘crocodile tears’ cause impediments for the project, it would not make any difference to him and the implementation of the project.

Principal P S Aithal among others were present.

Syndicate Bank launches on-line facility

Panaji: The Syndicate Bank has introduced its on-line facility for its loan schemes for the benefit of customers, the assistant general manager, Mr JS Shenoy, informed.

Speaking to the media persons this morning, Mr Shenoy said this facility would enable customers to seek credit facilities just by clicking and added within 2-3 weeks time the application would be processed for availing loans without any problem.

He said this unique and novel facility has evoked good response from its clientele and the customers can log on to for quick and immediate response.

He said facility offered to its customers to win over them and to build a rapport with the future customers and in this way the is trying to address the grievances of the IT-savvy customers through this facility, he informed.

He also informed that even the bank customers can book railway tickets and in the near future they would be extending the facility for deposit.

He said Synd Sona selling gold coins to the members of public during Ganesh and Deepawali festivals had tremendous response and had sold nearly 200 kg of gold by way of gold coins embossed with deities and added these gold coins were directly imported from Switzerland.

The bank has also extended its services to the students by way of Synd Vidya and Synd Vidyarthi schemes. Through this facility a student can withdraw money upto Rs 10,000 during emergency, which would be re-imbursed from their parents.

He informed that the bank has plans to go in for follow-on public issue to shore up its equity capital base. In this endeavour, the bank has already obtained necessary approval from the board and shareholders of the bank and added that further process will be initiated once necessary clearance from the government and various regulatory authorities are received.

Meanwhile, the bank branch at Betim was shifted to new spacious premises at Souza Complex, main road, Betim and commenced the e-banking facility since November 15.

A bazaar for Konkani works

The Karnataka Konkani Sahitya Academy, Mangalore, will organise a five-day Konkani Bazaar here from December 20 to provide a temporary common market to Konkani writers, musicians and publishers.

A release from S.H. Shivarudrappa, registrar of the academy, said that people could buy Konkani works, cassettes, compact discs, video compact discs and newspapers at the bazaar.

The academy will set up stalls at the hall of Infant Jesus Church, Bikkarnakatte, venue of the bazaar. As a special attraction, people can also purchase Christmas cards, trees, decorative items for the crib, and Christmas delicacies at the bazaar, the release said.

Those interested in selling their items at the bazaar can contact the academy either in person or over phone 0824-2453167.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Intelligent Energy 2008 conference and exhibition

The Intelligent Energy 2008 conference and exhibition entitled 'The Future is Here - The Value of Innovation and Integration' will be held in Amsterdam at the RAI, one of Europe's most advanced venues

The vital issue of energy supply and demand continues to dominate the global stage, and the oil and gas industry must embrace ever-more efficient methods to enable it to achieve even better production performance.

This has lead to some of the biggest names from both the upstream sector and the IT industry agreeing to participate in an event focused on the crucial area of digital technology.

The biennial Intelligent Energy event has attracted an outstanding line-up of pan-industry speakers and exhibiting companies, with presenters in the opening plenary 'Vision' session of the conference to include Ben Verwaayen, Chief Executive of UK communications giant BT, Norwegian major StatoilHydro Chief Executive Officer Helge Lund, Schlumberger Chief Executive Officer Andrew Gould, Malcolm Brinded, Executive Director E+P for Royal Dutch Shell, and Amin Nasser, Vice President, Petroleum Engineering and Development at Saudi Aramco.

IE 2008 is jointly organised by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and Reed Exhibitions and will take place between February 25-27th.

As well as the outstanding conference, the exhibition is virtually sold out with exhibitors and sponsors participating such as Shell, BT, IBM, BP, Cisco, Schlumberger, Halliburton, Weatherford, Deloitte, Chevron and BG Group.

The role of digital technology in enhancing oil and gas production Satish Pai, Co-Chairman of the 2008 Executive Committee and President Europe, Africa and Caspian at Schlumberger, said in a joint statement with his Co-Chairman Sjur Bjarte Talstad of StatoilHydro: 'The Conference Committee has compiled an exciting agenda.

The response for technical papers, combined with the committed participation from industry technology providers and the global IT industry has been tremendous.

Confirmed speakers include CEOs from our own industry along with senior managers from the IT industry.

It is particularly encouraging to see so many young professionals making such a valuable contribution to this year's conference.

Many of them have grown up in the digital age and their input, energy and enthusiasm will be critical in driving the future of the industry'.

Mr Pai added that it is vital for the oil and gas industry to embrace more efficient methods that enable better production performance to meet increased demand, and that it also has to balance how best to meet this challenge with methods that are safe for people and kinder to the environment.

'The answer will inevitably lie in combining digital technology, our industry knowledge and expertise, and the vision to take production processes to the next level.

Here, our aim is to focus on the vital role that digital technology can play in this equation'.

The innovative conference will also see the audience live-link in the opening scene-setting session led by the co-chairmen with facilities around the world.

The chairmen will connect in real-time with teams in locations as far apart as Azerbaijan, Brazil, Holland, Norway and the United Kingdom to help give an insight into the rapidly changing world of the upstream oil sector.

Val Johnston Jones, Industry Director, Energy and Marine at Reed Exhibitions, commented: 'The first IE event, held in 2006, attracted 41 exhibiting companies from a host of countries around the world, and over 1,200 visitors.

Already, 14 weeks away from the second edition of the event, 62 exhibiting companies from countries including Russia, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Sweden, The Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Norway have taken space at the 2008 event.

This illustrates the industry desire to continuously improve effectiveness in all areas of activity, from initial exploration to maximising the ultimate economic recovery through the adoption of new ideas and technologies - often IT related technologies, and sometimes from other industries - to achieve this goal.

The proven success of the first edition of the event and the subsequent growth of the second edition, demonstrates that the Intelligent Energy Conference and Exhibition captures the concept of a new approach, harnessing new IT-enabled capability, to respond to the energy challenge'.

Plethico to buy U.S.-based Natrol for $81 mln, shares up

Plethico Pharmaceuticals said it will buy U.S.-based branded nutritional products firm Natrol Inc for about $81 million, ensuring a toehold in the world's top drug market and boosting shares.

Under the deal, Plethico plans to buy all outstanding shares of Natrol for $4.40 each in a tender offer to start Nov. 27, the companies said in two separate statements on Monday.

"We are looking at another acquisition in the U.S.... which has a manufacturing facility and a great set of brands," Sanjay Pai, Plethico's chief financial officer, said.

"We are trying to consolidate in this nutraceutical sphere and are planning to become a big player in this segment."

The nutraceutical market in the U.S. is worth about $22 billion, he added.

Plethico shares, which jumped nearly 9 percent to a new high of 507.7 rupees, are now up 6 percent at 494.25 rupees.

Natrol's revenue, $65.6 million in 2006, is expected to rise to $90 million in 2009 with contributions from the three acquisitions it made in the last 12 months, Wayne Bos, president and chief executive officer of Natrol said.

Last year, the U.S. firm's net profit was marginally above break-even, he added.

Plethico would fund the deal through the $75 million it raised in convertible bonds and the rest would come from the proceeds from its initial public offering, Pai said.

Plethico, which made its stock market debut last May, got more than half its revenue from nutraceuticals and herbal products in 2006/07, he added.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Golden jubilee show of Konkani play

Mangalore: Golden Jubilee show of Konkani play Nandadeep by Mumbai-based Konkani Triveni Kala Sangam (KTKS) was staged at the Town Hall in the city on November 17, programme co-ordinator Vedamurthi Narasimhachar said on Tuesday.

He told reporters that Goa Chief Minister Digamber Kamath was the chief guest on the occasion. KTKS felicitated Kamath in recognition of his services in promoting Konkani language.

"KTKS is a non-commercial drama organisation with a prime objective to propagate Konkani language" he said adding that the drama show-Nandadeep was a milestone in the history of amateur dramas.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Golden jubilee show of Konkani play

MANGALORE: Golden Jubilee show of Konkani play Nandadeep by Mumbai-based Konkani Triveni Kala Sangam (KTKS) would be staged at the Town Hall in the city on November 17, programme co-ordinator Vedamurthi Narasimhachar said on Tuesday.

He told reporters that Goa Chief Minister Digamber Kamath would be the chief guest on the occasion. KTKS would felicitate Kamath in recognition of his services in promoting Konkani language.

“KTKS is a non-commercial drama organisation with a prime objective to propagate Konkani language,” he said adding that the drama show-Nandadeep was a milestone in the history of amateur dramas.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Kamat Hotels to set up 36 4-star hotels in Maharashtra

Vithal Kamat, CMD, Kamat Hotels India said that in order to cater to the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune, they are going to come up with a 5-Star hotel Orchid and a 4-Star hotel called VITS.

Q: You are building this hotel for the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2008. You have to complete the project by June. You are going to be in the business of managing this 400-room property. Is it a 5-Star hotel? You mentioned there were two entities coming up.
A: There are going to be two. One is a 5-Star hotel - Orchid, environment sensitive hotel, and the other one will be a 4-Star hotel, a new brand called VITS. So, these two hotels will be catering for the Commonwealth Youth Games in Pune.

Q: So, what kind of an investment does it involve from you?
A: Clear Water have taken 49% in a joint venture; 51% is going to be put in by our joint company.

Q: Are you investing anything at your end apart from the private equity player getting in money?
A: Yes. We are also joint owners, we have participation in it. And we will be managing this entire hotel for the next 60 years.

Q: Could you talk about the potential revenue that you would get from managing these hotels because as you spelt it out, about 70% of the work is already done? So, once the hotels actually start, post-June 2008, what kind of revenue can we expect from the company on a QoQ basis?
A: At present, the trend is such that our PBT and PAT, this quarter our PAT has gone up by around 377% compared to last year, which is Rs 1.852 crore to Rs 7.25 crore. The half yearly to half yearly turnover has grown from 42.75 crore to Rs 65 crore. And PAT has gone from Rs 3.2 crore to Rs 11.3 crore.

Q: Going forward, what kind of revenue do you see particularly from this project as you have 17% stake for the services of managing these hotels, what will be your revenue on a time on time basis?
A: When we take any hotel for management, we get approximately 8% of the turnover. Our first full-year turnover would be around Rs 90 crore, which is the minimum turnover. Also, there will be the Food and Beverage business, and both these will combine to over Rs 100 crore.

Q: A quick word on the kind of expansion plans you have? Do you intend to raise further funds?
A: Right now we have acquired 60% share of Concept Hospitality, a hotel management company, which is subject to government approval. At the same time, at the end of this month, we are opening a new chain; Gadh hotels chain and we have three more properties in the same Gadh Hotels. We are also starting 36 small hotels, which are going to be 4-star hotels in all districts of Maharashtra.

Q: What is the kind of capex, the kind of expenditure that you would be incurring? Do you have that money with you or would you need to raise it?
A: We have the money with us. But at the same time, today for all the VITS brand hotels; we have people who have approached us. So, we will also be managing it and giving it on a franchise basis. So, this is a new opportunity where your capex will be very low.

Anoop rescues Hyderabad

DEFIANT KNOCK: Anoop Pai scored a determined century as Hyderabad held off Bengal on the final day.

Hyderabad found a hero in S. Anoop Pai. The 22-year old left-hander, playing his third Ranji Trophy match, held centrestage with a responsible unbeaten 119 on the fourth and final day of the four-day Super League elite group B engagement against Bengal at the Eden Gardens on Wednesday.

Pai, in the company of Arjun Yadav (53) and Amol Shinde (33), not only denied Bengal an outright victory but also earned his team a vital point.

The young and inexperienced Hyderabad team indeed showed a lot of grit and fighting spirit against heavy odds. Having not done well in the first innings and forced to follow-on, these three middle-order batsmen ensured Hyderabad reach 302 for six in the second essay to draw the game. The match was called off after the second mandatory over.

Appreciating the team’s effort to deny Bengal the victory, captain V.V.S. Laxman praised the younger lot. “It is heartening indeed to see the youngsters show a lot of competitiveness. I am sure this experience will stand them in good stead this season,” he said.

From Bengal’s point of view, the pitch proved to be the villain. It hardly behaved like a fourth day wicket and gave ample time for the batsmen to negotiate whatever turn the pitch offered. Bengal earned three points for taking the first innings lead while Hyderabad got one point for forcing the draw.

Bengal would travel to Baroda while Hyderabad takes on Punjab in the next set of league matches. Secures 2.5 Million From Manipal Education

Partnership to bring low-cost, quality supplemental online education to India. India-based, the leading online tutoring company, announced today its receipt of a strategic investment of $2.5 million from one of India's top-ranking educational conglomerates, Manipal Education Group

India-based, the leading online tutoring company, announced today its receipt of a strategic investment of $2.5 million from one of India's top-ranking educational conglomerates, Manipal Education Group. Dr. Ranjan Pai, Manipal Education and Medical Group (MEMG) CEO, joins TutorVista as an independent Director. offers tutoring and homework help for K-12 and college students. brings an innovative, technology-centered service into its collaboration with Manipal. By using TutorVista, students can supplement their education and maximize academic aptitude by accessing course materials and test preparation materials online. provides one-on-one tutoring to students from throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, Finland, Middle East, Singapore and China. Tutors, most of whom have Masters degrees, are available around the clock.

"We are delighted to have Manipal Education as our investment partner. This partnership underscores our market competitiveness and enables us to meet the growing demand in online tutoring and test preparation," said K. Ganesh, CEO of "Manipal Education shares our vision of breaking down economic barriers in order to grant students from every walk of life a chance for academic success."

Manipal Education's decision to partner with a personal online tutoring service stems from a desire to take advantage of the latest in technology, in order to increase the reach and effectiveness of primary and secondary school education. employs a cost-effective, lateral approach that makes education accessible for students from every economic background. This combination will jumpstart's plan to provide affordable, quality education throughout India.

"This investment is a step forward for Manipal Education and furthers a commitment to creating a global footprint," said Dr. Ranjan Pai, CEO of Manipal Education and Medical Group. "The partnership is mutually beneficial and works towards our shared goal of making education completely pervasive."

A global leader in online tutoring and test preparation services, this is the third round of investments for provides one-on-one tutoring and homework help in math, English, science and other subjects. In December 2006, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital India and Silicon Valley Bank invested $10.75 million in the company. Sequoia Capital India made an initial $2 million investment in June 2006.

About is an online tutoring company that provides affordable tutoring and test preparation worldwide. uses technology to bring high-quality, convenient tutoring right into the student's home and uses global education resources to make tutoring affordable. is committed to providing solutions for educational problems like declining test scores, a shortage of teachers and a lack of economically viable supplementary education and test preparation. The first to implement a flat pricing plan,'s fees are $99.99 per month for unlimited online tutoring in all available subjects. To learn more about log on to

About Manipal Education
Manipal Education is among the largest and most diversified providers of academic and education services in India. Included under the group's umbrella are two universities (Manipal University and Sikkim Manipal University); over 30 other educational institutions in India; and campuses in Antigua, Dubai, Malaysia and Nepal. There are over 125,000 students studying undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in Manipal. To learn more about Manipal Education log on to

Anoop Pai denies Bengal a sure win

In what was only his third first-class match, Anoop Pai showed he has it in him, taking Hyderabad to the shores of safety at the Eden Gardens with a defiant century. The unbeaten 119 from the young left-hander - his maiden first-class ton - denied Bengal a ‘sure’ victory in the Elite Group B tie.

Tottering at 86 for three after following on, still 148 runs away from making Bengal bat again, Hyderabad finished the final day on 302 for six. Bengal had to settle for the three points they garnered by virtue of the first innings lead while Hyderabad got a point.

The day belonged to southpaw Pai, who showed great patience during the 262-ball knock. It lasted over six hours. Strong off the backfoot, Pai was ready to wait for the loose balls to hit the 13 boundaries in his innings.


Bengal: 1st Innings 461.
Hyderabad: 1st Innings 227.
Hyderabad: 2nd innings (Overnight 86-3):
A Pai not out 119
A. Yadav c sub b Lodhgar 53
A. Shinde c Ahmed b Lahiri 33
H. Ahmed c Saha b Lodhgar 4
M. Arjun not out 8.
Extras (b-1, lb-5, nb-7) 13.
Total (For 6 wickets; 115 overs) 302:
Bowling: Bose 18-6-45-0, Paul 15-3-46-0, Lahiri 31-4-100-1, Lodhgar 40-12-68-5, Tewari 7-0-23-0, Mazumdar 3-0-10-0, Shukla 1-0-4-0.

Commemoration programme on Nov 17

Udupi: The Consumer Forum is organising the decenial commemoration programme of late Dr P Narayana Rao couple at the premises of District Consumer Information Centre here on Nov 11.

Dr Rao was the Principal of Poorna Prajna College, Udupi and had served as the professor at the St Aloysius College, Mangalore, as the Principal of Vidyadayini College, Surathkal and also as the English Professor at the Kolhapur University. Known for his simplicity and selflessness, Rao had served as the convener of Udupi Balakedarara Vedike founded by Dr K P S Kamath. His wife Vinutha Rao had joined him in the consumer movement. Convener of the Vedike, K Damodar Aithal in a press release stated that Prasara Bharati Chairman M V Kamath would preside over the programme whereas General Manager of Syndicate Bank, Devananda Upadhyaya would inaugurate the programme.

On the occasion, CEO of Udupi Zilla Panchayat, P Hemalatha would release the book ‘Consumer Jurisprudence –An Introduction’, written by U G Kamath and the second edition of book ‘Mahithi Hakku-2005’ written by H Shantharaja Aithal.

Dr Rao’s contemporaries Prof Nataraj Dixit and Panduranga Shanubhag would share their memories about Dr Rao. Senior Divisional Consumer Sales Manager of Indian Oil Corporation, Ullas M Kamath would be the chief guest at the valedictory programme. P Rabeendra Nayak would preside over the programme. President of the Human Rights’ Protection Foundation, Dr K Ravindranath Shanubhag would speak on the consumer movement, Aithal added.