Bartronics sets up chip plant in Hyderabad

Bartonics India Ltd will set up a manufacturing plant in Hyderabad in southern India to make chips for smart cards in a pact with Watchdata Technologies Ltd, Singapore, a subsidiary of Beijing-based Watchdata, one of China's first developers of a proprietary smart card operating system.

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Sreeram Penna

10000 heart surgeries for Apollo!

The cardio-thoracic surgery team of Apollo Hospitals, Jubilee Hills has completed 10,000 open heart surgeries.
It is the only unit in AP and the sixth in the country to have achieved this rare feet.

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Sreeram Penna


Zensar expands Hyderabad facility

Zensar Technologies, the Pune based software services provider, has expanded its Hyderabad facility and plans to set up smaller centres that it refers to as solutions architecting centres.

The company also signed up with Koneru Lakshmaiah Engineering College here today and plans to partner with over 100 colleges in the State to help groom and fine-tune engineering students and help them move into employable category.

The Chief Executive Officer of Zensar, Dr Ganesh Natarajan, said that the company currently employs about 3,500 people, 2,500 of them in Pune. It recently charted out a Vision 20:20 strategy that means setting up about 20 centres in the country, and in 20 locations globally.

The Hyderabad operations of Zensar offers ERP, retail and BFSI services to its global clientele.

The centre was inaugurated in the presence of the Secretary (Information Technology & Communication) to the Andhra Pradesh Government, Ms Ratna Prabha and the Chairman of Satyam Computer, Mr B. Ramalinga Raju.

Mr. Raju said that the ability of Hyderabad to attract IT companies to locate their centres has gone up over the years. The State is able to present Hyderabad's case better and attract new companies to locate centres.



Tourism flourishes in Andhra Pradesh

For much of its existence, Andhra Pradesh has been recognised for its leadership role in the agricultural sector.

In its 50th year, the state is now being recognised as a tourism powerhouse, attracting the largest number of domestic tourists.

Ever since the largest Imax screen in the world opened in Hyderabad two years ago, it has been Govind's, a vendor, favourite spot to sell masala chat.

With the growing number of regular visitors and tourists to the multiplex, his fortunes have become upwardly mobile as well.

�All kinds of people from all over come here. Some even come to eat my chat. Business has picked up,� said Govind.

Hot destination

Not surprising then that Andhra Pradesh is now the country's number one destination. Over nine crore domestic tourists visited the state in 2005-2006 - much more than the number to Uttar Pradesh, Goa and Kerala.

The flip side, however, is that Andhra Pradesh needs to thank God for that because 55 per cent of these tourists are pilgrims to Lord Balaji's shrine at Tirumala.

Hyderabad is also the preferred choice for convention tourism, leading to a sharp increase in the number of business travelers, which has compelled the hospitality industry to get its act together.

In the last couple of years, six star hotels have set up shop and another eight existing hotels will add more rooms in the next six months. Nearly 70 budget hotels have come up as well.

�This is the right time. Till 2010, there is enough time and good time to invest. The world is looking at Hyderabad now,� said Pradeep Dutt, Joint Secretary, AP Hotels Association.

The icing on the cake is that Andhra Pradesh has achieved the distinction in its golden jubilee year.

But there are several challenges ahead, like ensuring Hyderabad emerges top on the software list and social indices list.

It has also to ensure the state does not end up with the dubious distinction of being top in either farmers' suicides or HIV prevalence.


Hyderabad Realestate update1

Golden Paradise, a 10-acre well developed residential layout approved by DTCP very near to NH-7 having close proximity to mega projects like International airport, Jewellery park, NRI soft centre, Hardware park, Fabcity etc.


Building rules to be relaxed in Hyderabad

  • Occupation certificate, mortgage clause not being insisted for some constructions
  • Small shops need not provide parking space

  • The Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad has suggested certain modifications to the new building rules under G.O. MS 86 to provide for setback relaxations and a decision was expected in a few days time, according to Additional Commissioner K. Dhananjaya Reddy (Planning & Projects).

    H has also mooted setback relaxations for constructions of ground plus two, three and four storeys. Similarly, front setback relaxations are to be allowed for properties affected in road widening maintaining the building line as the property owners have hardly any land for building after expansion as was happening on the Erragadda road.

    The Additional Commissioner insisted that the built up area would be more for constructions in plots of below 600 sq.mts and above 1,200 sq.mts under the new rules contrary to public perception. A separate category was suggested for plots between 750 sqm and 1,000 sqm so that they too could get same setback relaxation benefit.

    However, those building extra floors or space illegally are certainly going to get affected by the new rules, he said.

    Small shops coming up in 100 sq.mts or less need not have to provide for parking space and the Government was approached for clarity on this issue, he said. after Hissamgunj Monda's Bhavarlal Varma complained that officials were insisting on parking space for small shops in General Bazar.


    Andhra farmers gear up for wine grape cultivation

    Come 2007, Andhra Pradesh could turn wine country. Large grape farmers are planning to take to wine-grape cultivation encouraged by greater return on investments and the state government’s promises of a right fiscal environment.

    Andhra Pradesh has 15,000 acres under grape cultivation and the state produces about 1.5 lakh tonne of grapes. “While we are able to hit the international market for table-grapes, we are yet to produce wine varieties in the state,” said GVK Naidu, MD of Sam Agrotech, which is leading this initiative.

    About 10 large grape farmers have come together to take up wine-grape cultivation. They have submitted a memorandum to the state government seeking relaxation in tax policies and food procesing status to winemaking units. “Our aim is to convert a minimum of 200 acres into vineyards by the next year and soon we will scale it up to 500 acres. As the state does not have any wineries, we are planning to start the project in Chittoor and Ananthapur regions due to its proximity to wineries in Karnataka,” Mr Naidu said.

    With 70% sales tax on wine, industry players say, Andhra is the costliest market for wines. Commenting on the tax environment, AP agriculture minister N Raghuveera Reddy told ET, “We are looking at slashing sales tax on wine at par with our neighbouring states. We have held a metting with the finance minister and the excise minister and a policy announcement can be expected soon. Besides, we are also planning to provide funding support for setting up a winery.”
    Better return on wine-grape cultivation is also acting as a driver for farmers in Andhra.

    “Our main objective is to start vineyards as it will require much less investment compared with table-grapes. The cost per acre for cultivating table-grapes is about Rs 3.5 lakh and, in the case of a vineyard, it is about Rs 1.5 lakh.
    A farmer can expect to get Rs 28 to Rs 35 for a kg of wine-grapes, while table-grapes fetch only Rs 8 per kg,” Mr Naidu said.

    While Maharashtra impose sales tax of 20%, besides offering excise duty exemption to wineries using domestically produced grapes, Andhra Pradesh has been unable to attract wine-makers despite the suitable climate.

    “Even Karnataka has brought down sales tax on wine to 20%,” said Adrian Pinto, general manager, Sula Vineyards.



    Nellore emerging as investment hub

    • With the Centre identifying Krishnapatnam as one of the suitable places for petrochemicals, both the ONGC and IOC have shown interest to set up an LNG terminal there with an investment of Rs 2,000 crore.
    • district administration had been acquiring lands for 4,000-mw coal-based, ultra-mega power plant, critical thermal project and leather park on war-footing.
    • M A S Holdings of Sri Lanka would set up Rs. 1,000 crores textile mill at Naidupet. Southern Mills Association will set up 15 spinning mills with Rs. 1,500 crores.
    • Singapore major Apache Investment Holdings Pvt. Ltd, will commence production in Mambattu of Tada mandal by December.


    AP to allot 1,500-acre site for HPCL venture

    The Andhra Pradesh Government has decided to allot a 1500-acre site near Visakhapatnam to petroleum major Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL), in the proposed Special Economic Zone.

    HPCL has come up with a proposal for a mega project that would entail a total outlay of Rs 30,000 crore.

    According to a statement from the Chief Minister's Office, this is part of the 9,000-acre Special Economic Zone proposed to come up near Visakhapatnam.

    The SEZ would include land for HPCL, Gangavaram port and several other related projects. This incidentally is one of the 31 SEZs that the Centre has cleared for Andhra Pradesh.

    The HPCL management has come up with a proposal to invest up to Rs 30,000 crore spread across three major projects - refinery, aromatic plant, and naphtha cracker plant.

    This new project, in effect, would mean creation of additional capacities and diversification plans for HPCL, which has significant presence in Visakhapatnam with a refinery.

    The State Government has identified Visakhapatnam as a major centre and is working towards creating a pharma city and coastal corridor and expects to develop this as a high dense industrial hub leveraging the huge gas find in the Krishna-Godavari basin area. As per estimates, by 2008, KG basin is likely to offer gas from new fields.




    Andhra Pradesh gets new $1bn loan

    The World Bank has announced assistance worth $1bn for the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh in view of its "success" in carrying out reforms.

    The bank said that it wanted to carry on supporting the state government's efforts in various fields.

    It said these efforts had been capably and professionally implemented.

    The bank says around $500m will be lent for irrigation, while the remainder will be lent for "structural adjustments and urban reforms".

    It says that the money will be lent over a period of three to four years.


    Tourism projects worth Rs.7 bn coming up in Hyderabad

    A world-class spa, a training centre in spa technology and hospitality, five-star hotels and an urban entertainment centre are among the key tourism projects coming up in and around Hyderabad with a total investment of Rs.7 billion.

    Andhra Pradesh has attracted about Rs.9 billion of private investment in tourism projects during last two years while the state government has spent Rs.2 billion on the sector.

    Tourism Minister J. Geeta Reddy Sunday disclosed these figures while releasing a new investor-friendly tourism policy.

    The state already claims to be the number one in domestic tourism. 'Almost 89 million domestic tourists are coming to Hyderabad every year,' she said.

    A five-star hotel with more than 250 rooms and 100 service apartments is coming up near Hitec City, the IT hub, at an estimated cost of Rs.5 billion. The Hilton group also plans to develop a hotel in the area, which already has a world-class convention centre and a five-star hotel developed by the Dubai-based Emmar group.

    New Delhi-based Indian Hotels and Health Resorts Hospitality Private Limited, the owners of famous Ananda spa in Himalayas, and the state government are jointly setting up a world class spa, hotel and training centre in spa technology and hospitality on 14.94 acres at Nanakramguda on the outskirts of Hyderabad at a cost of Rs.1 billion.

    The other major project is an urban entertainment centre on 5.61 acres of land at Basheerbagh in the heart of the city. The centre, to be developed with an estimated cost of Rs.1.37 billion, will have a mega shopping mall, multiplexes, business convention centre, ethnic bazaar and theme parks.

    Geeta Reddy said a health spa, hotels, multi-theme park, convention centre and urban entertainment centre were also coming up in the coastal city of Visakhapatnam.

    To attract new investment in the sector, the government will offer various incentives including investment subsidy of 20 percent of the project cost subject to a maximum of Rs.2 million. To encourage upgradation to international standards, selected hotels will be offered an incentive of 15 percent of the project cost.

    In another move to promote tourism, the state government had a tie-up with Air Deccan to link Hyderabad with popular tourist destinations outside the state like Goa, Coimbatore and Cochin.

    The tourism department has appointed shooter Amit Sanghi and golf player P. Krishna Reddy as its brand ambassadors.


    Motorola launches R&D facility in Hyderabad

    Showing further commitment to India, global telecom major Motorola Inc launched its new research and development facility here on October 30.

    The new Motorola building, housing the Motorola Software Group (MSG), at Hitec City, Madhapur, was inaugurated by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy in the presence of Edward J. Zander, chairman and chief executive officer, and Padmasree Warrior, executive vice president and chief technology officer, Motorola Inc.

    The new technology centre will house over 1,000 engineers undertaking pioneering work in the field of innovation in telecommunications and mobile applications. The facility will support research and development of cutting-edge software.

    'Today's announcement of the new R&D facility for MSG is yet another testimony of our commitment to, and confidence in, India. Software is a major driver of technology and our Hyderabad facility's focus on software engineering addresses a key aspect of our global operations,' Zander said.

    'It will play a strong role in strengthening our position to leverage India's intrinsic advantages: excellent IT skills, scientific talent and competent, mature workforce,' he added.

    Motorola set up its first R&D facility in Bangalore in 1991 and since then it has had a fast-growing R&D presence in the country.


    RIL launches first Reliance Fresh retail store in Hyderabad

    Reliance's Rs25,000 crore retail foray is being pitched as a friendly neighbourhood store. Dominated by fresh produce, dairy and bread, Reliance Fresh is a compact 2000 sq ft store.

    Gunender Kapur, president and CEO, of the Foods Business, RIL, says, "In this format the focus in on fresh fruits and veggies and staple products that consumers buy very frequently from the shop."

    The efficiency of Reliance's much talked about farm to folk supply chain is being put to test with this retail launch. This particular store is directly procuring from the farmers of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu giving it a quality and pricing advantage, something that Reliance hopes will fuel its success.

    Private labels across multiple categories are expected to drive Reliance's retail formats. And with this new store comes the company's food brand 'Reliance Select'.

    Kapur further adds, "At this point of time we have displayed in stores private labels in staples like rice, dhal, spices etc. so we have got a wide range of categories in which Reliance Select will be available, and in fullness of time we will get into other categories."

    Next in line is Fresh Plus — Reliance's second retail format likely to be launched next month that will also house a pharmacy, and section for apparel and consumer durables.

    And six months later, Reliance hopes to roll out its hypermarket format — 75,000 square feet of multiple brands of apparel, FMCG, groceries and white goods.

    For now, the spotlight remains on Reliance Fresh — 40 similar stores are being planned in Hyderabad, 11 of which will open their doors to customers on November 3.

    After ITC's Choupal Fresh and Landmark's Max Retail stores, Reliance joins the list of retailers who chose Hyderabad to test send this article to a friendwaters. The city offers real estate at a price that doesn't quite pinch and a population that's happy shopping at supermarkets. In fact, FMCG sales through modern trade are highest in Hyderabad.


    New US consulate in Hyderabad

    A team of US officials Monday inspected Paigah Palace, a heritage structure, which will house the US consulate here.

    The officials from US embassy and consulate in Chennai went around the building located in Begumpet near the airport and had discussions with officials from the external affairs ministry and the Andhra Pradesh government.

    An advance team comprising two US officials had inspected the building last week and suggested some modifications to set up the consulate.

    The fourth US consulate in the country after Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, is expected to begin functioning late next year or early 2008.

    The decision to set up the consulate was taken during US President George W. Bush's visit to the city on March 3.

    The state government has offered 10 acres of land at Gacchibowli on the city outskirts for building a permanent building for the consulate but the US officials have hinted that this could take eight to nine years.

    During the past couple of months, the US officials had identified few buildings in the city as temporary arrangements. These included a posh building in Jubilee Hills, Dilkusha guesthouse near Raj Bhavan, the official residence of state governor and Paigah Palace.

    The state government ruled out the first two choices on security grounds and agreed to lease out Paigah Palace, which currently houses the head office of Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA).

    However, this choice was also not free from problems. The employees of HUDA, a government regulatory body, initially refused to give up the building but relented following assurance by Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy that the HUDA office would later be shifted back to the building.

    The Paigah Palace, built in the European style in the 1880s during Nizam's rule, has 20 spacious rooms and four huge halls with high ceiling that goes up to 26 feet.

    The heritage structure was given a facelift recently by HUDA, and the interiors have been redesigned to make it more user friendly.

    The US officials decided to have a consulate here as the number of visa seekers from the state was fast increasing. The visa seekers from the state have to travel to Chennai, New Delhi or Mumbai for visa interviews.

    About 40 percent of the visas issued by the Chennai consulate are reported to be from Andhra Pradesh.

    The state government officials said Hyderabad was preferred as a large number of IT professionals and students from this state are based in US and the city is also centrally located.

    Telugu Portal

    Audi AG is planning to set up its manufacturing facility in Andhra Pradesh

    German luxury car manufacturer Audi AG has decided to set up its own manufacturing facility in India and has selected Andhra Pradesh to put up the plant.

    Industry sources said that Audi might set up the plant either in Hyderabad, Nellore or Visakhapatnam as these places have existing industrial clusters.

    Rahil Ansari, country manager, India, Audi AG confirmed to FE about the company's plan to set up its own manufacturing faciltiy, but declined to divulge the location.

    At present, Audi sells its A4, A6, A8, TT and Q7 models in the Indian market as completely built units (CBUs). It would launch S8 and RS4 models in the country by the end of this year.

    In calendar year 2005, Audi sold 105 cars in the Indian market and plans to sell 300 units this year and 700 in 2007.

    Financial Express