Month: August 2013

Renowned Taj Mansingh Hotel to be auctioned soon

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Delhi’s prestigious landmark, the Tata-owned Taj Mansingh hotel is to be auctioned, as per  PTI reports. The Ministry of Home Affairs of India has indicated an auction that is to be held soon by the New Delhi Muncipal Council (NDMC).

According to reports, Taj Mansingh which stands invincible on Mansingh road of Central Delhi was supposed to have been auctioned two years ago. Mansingh Road is situated within the NDMC area and The Ministry of Home Affairs is the administrative authority of NDMC. The Ministry has already issued a show-cause notice for the delay. A senior Ministry official said, “So far, the NDMC has not sent any reply, implying that it has nothing to say. So, we will soon give a directive to the NDMC to start the process of conducting the auctioning immediately.” The property of Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL), Taj Mansingh was given to IHCL on lease for 33 years by NDMC. The lease already came to an end in 2011 and the Ministry of Urban Development intervened and asked NDMC to auction the property, which was apparently not done. Instead, a one year extension was given to IHCL, which also ended in October 2012.

IHCL approached Delhi High Court to seek a stay in the process of auction. Unfortunately their plea was refused by the honorary Court. However, IHCL managed to get an assurance that if NDMC takes steps for vacating the premises, the company can take legal recourse.

According to PTI report, IHCL has been denied the first right of refusal in the upcoming auction. “In the auction, the IHCL may not get the first right of refusal as that will result in a lower bid in the auction,” the Home Ministry official said. On which Tata Group Company approached the Solicitor General to seek opinion, which PTI reports, has annoyed the Ministry.

Although the property belongs to NDMC, IHCL has indeed invested a great deal of money and efforts in the hotel building. Therefore, the company is constantly opposing the decision of the Ministry of treating them as just another licensee, which can be replaced at the end of a term.

Customized Trips for Women Travelers

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The modern woman is now able to explore the world on her own terms and conditions. The recent trend shows an enormous rise in the number of women travelers in India. The graph indicates that a large number of females are opting for ‘females only’ group tours to local and international destinations. In lieu of this, Ministry of Tourism in India recently launched ‘I Respect Women’ campaign, which ensures security and safety of female travelers.

MoT (Ministry of Tourism) is taking special measures to promote women tours and provide safety to the female travelers. MoT at the recent National Tourism Ministers’ Conference held at New Delhi issued badges in Hindi and other ten languages to proclaim India as a safe tourist destination for female travelers.

Many travel facilitators are providing customized trips for women. Ranging from overworked women to housewives, these travel operators are taking special measures to customize travel itineraries accordingly. According to Sangeeta Patil, Director of Kesari Tours Pvt. Ltd; women in all respect deserves a tour that is replete with fun, excitement and at same time justifies the economic independence. She also said, “We are in a world where women are starting to move out and have fun on their own.  This drives home the fact that there is a sense of both economic as well as social independence among women today, and they are just as much avid travelers. Being a pioneer of this concept, Kesari Tours has brought into the market an opportunity for women to enjoy life and introduced an opportunity for women to enjoy life in unique ways. Our women-exclusive tailored tours give them a chance to travel without any burden, and have fun without any strings attached.”

Nicholas Lim, Regional Director, Asia, Thomas Cook also commented on the growing potential of the women in India. He quoted, “Every year the number of women travelers are increasing. In India, women have started travelling for countless reasons, namely exploring new frontiers, engaging in business opportunities or simply relaxing on a vacation. Women travelers have started to make a presence in the market today and it is observed that this segment is hugely dominated by friends, peers and colleagues.” The Thomas Cook itinerary includes BFF mini vacations and mother-daughter bonding trips. The chief elements of these itineraries include spa and wellness programs, shopping and partying makeover sessions and dining.

Women tours reflect a psyche, which accepts women as equal and promote economic, social and political independence of women. This new concept will hopefully promote a new trend in tourism and beckon a safer and more secured world for women.

Govinda Aala Re Aala

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Janmashtami, Travel around India and the Diverse Similarities Concept

The more one travels around India, the more one comes to understand the fact that this country is very diverse, the more diverse one finds this country and the more one encounters its similarities. One of the best ways to observe or enjoy these diverse similarities is join in and participate in the festivals. India has many festivals and each one is uniquely celebrated in different parts of the country. Many that fall on the same day may have different names, many that have the same name may have different legends and myths associated with them and when it come to the celebration, we all do it our own way.

As we gear up to celebrate the birthday of Krishna, I would like to introduce, explain and test the diverse similarities concept. As the world sleeps, a nation wakes up and goes to the nearby Krishna Mandir. As the midnight hour ticks over the people of this nation are buried in prayer and celebration. It’s the birthday of one of the most popular Gods of the Hindu faith. Some temple witness huge gatherings and a wonderful Prasad meal is wolfed down by the devotees. Women and men pray and give thanks to Krishna for taking human form and saving the earth from many myriad evils prevalent at the time.

Govinda Aala Re Aala
Govinda Aala Re Aala

In another part of India, children are dressed up and painted to appear like the playful child that was Krishna. The stories of His childhood are a part of folklore and are much loved and reiterated as lessons and parables for future generations to enjoy and learn from. The kids get their moment of glory and I for one believe that every child is in fact a form of the divine and holds the future of this world in their hands. In the land of the holy cow, Krishna as the Makhan Chor is an endearing image and one that you will find stuck on the wall of homes, hotels, tea stalls, railway stations and any corner of any nook anywhere and everywhere.

Govinda
Govinda

My favourite version of this fest is the one they do in Mumbai. What a show. A must watch for anybody travelling around India, they should head to Mumbai to watch this unique and heart stopping celebration. I am not exactly clear as the roots of this version apart from the fact that it comes from folklore. The aforementioned Makhan Chor would collect a band of buddies and steal milk, curds and butter from the homes of the simple folk of Mathura. These events are recreated as “Dahi Handi” celebrations in Mumbai but how it all started here, I don’t know.

Back in the day there was a sweet innocence to these celebrations, immortalised by the most lovable buffoon of Indian films with this song.

Every building, colony, locality used to have its own little version going and this writer too had his fair share of sore shoulders and breathless backaches.

Dahi Handi celebrations in Mumbai
“Dahi Handi” celebrations in Mumbai

In this picture yours truly is suggesting an idea only laughed at by the only guy in a bandana. “Kya baat kar raha hai yaar!        …Aise toh hum sab ki tang toot jayegi !!!!!  So much for a planned siege of the “Dahi Handi”.

But with time Mumbai has changed and MY! How it’s grown. Which now brings us full circle to the diverse similarities concept and its deliverance; the pictures make it all too clear.

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Happy Janmashtami and Happy Govinda to you all.  By Rajesh Baruah

GoAir to Sell its 40 Percent Stake to Qatar

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GoAir, one of the leading no-frill airlines of India is likely to sell its 40 percent shares to Qatar Airways, which is a leading international airline and provide world class facilities.  According to a CNBC TV18 report, the Wadia Group, which holds all the shares of GoAir has planned to sell stakes in order to reduce the debt of the airline.

With the ball in its court, the Qatar-based airline is likely to hike the stake shares to 49 percent under the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) regulations. Reports are that the two airlines have already appointed bankers to facilitate the deal conveniently.

However, the two airlines in deal are also concerned over the bilateral rights with respect to government policies of each country. There are also reports that GoAir airlines may include foreign investors in the coming months. The best thing out of this business deal is that there are other international airlines too that are interested in the similar kind of association and very soon the Indian aviation industry will experience a number of such business deals.

Air India to Acquire 19 A320s on Dry Lease

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Air India Ltd is to acquire 19 A320s on dry lease to catch up with the heightened competition with no-frill carriers. Industry watchers are judging for this action as the effort of Air India to replace its old fleet.

The airline service has already started the process of obtaining 19 Airbus A320s. As per the PTI reports, this robust aircraft has been its warhorse for more than 20 years for domestic operations. Airline sources said, “The national carrier has sought dry leasing these planes for six years instead of buying them, as part of its Turnaround and Financial Restructuring Plans.”

They further added, “All these 19 new aircraft should have sharklets and be in an all-economy configuration.” The airline is all set to call for financial and technical bids at global level to dry-lease these planes. In fact, the technical bids are to be opened by September this year.

Air India airlines was one of the launch customers of the A320s and the airline bought about 31 of them between 1989 and 1993. It further strengthened its relations with the A320 family by purchasing 43 more planes including A320s, A319s and A321s during 2003 – 2010. Presently, Air India Ltd is the proud owner of 12 A320s with six on lease. It also has 20 A321 along with 24 A319s out of which 19 are owned and five leased. If sources are to be believed, the deliveries of the recently leased 19 aircrafts would commence from the fourth quarter of 2013.

Goibibo.com Gets its First Channel Manager

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Goibibo.com is teaming up with inventory management system, STAAH. This venture will enable goibibo.com to introduce its first channel manager, which is associating with the travel website. According to reports, this integration will prove to be beneficial for both the companies. In fact, STAAH will get an opportunity to expand its connectivity options with its hotel partners. On the other hand, goibibo.com is likely to get extensive benefits out of this venture. .

According to Tarun Jourkani, the Marketing Manager of STAAH “their aim is to make the process of updating distribution channels quicker and more efficient for hotel customers and their essential objective is continuous expansion of their network of distributors. We are extremely delighted to be the first channel manager to associate with Goibibo.com. Its connection with STAAH will make it much easier for our hotel partners to update latest products and rates, enabling them to bring their best offers to the customers.”

Goibibo.com, a leading travel website offers travelers to buy tickets, book hotels and holidays online see this opportunity as a key to the profitable business association. The association will ensure a distribution platform for managing channels and will enable Goibibo.com with updated rates and availability.

Let’s hear from Mohit Rajpal – Business Head/Bus at Goibibo.com

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Business Head/Bus at Goibibo.com
Business Head/Bus at Goibibo.com

Mohit is a religious person and simply loves the festival of Janamastami. As a kid he went to the local Krishna temple at midnight for the Pooja and the remembers that the Prasad was finger licking good.   

 1.       Tell us about your last eating out experience

 My last eating out experience was awesome, I got a chance to eat road side Idli in Bangalore.

 2.       How do you get to office? How is the experience?

 I come to office by metro and the experience is really good as I don’t get any traffic.

 3.       Your last holiday…Where? Which Airline? Which Hotel/Resort?

 It was in Goa, Fortune Hotel & Airline was Go Air.

 4.       Tell us about one good habit you have

Always eager for new opportunities.

 5.       Tell us about one bad habit you have

 I lose my temper sometime.

 6.       What’s in your wallet/bag right now?

Only and only credit cards.

7.       Tell us about your last Bus journey

 My last bus journey was to Amritsar and the experience was really good.

 8.       Your favorite dish …to cook ?

 I hardly cook but I cook only omelet.

 9.       You are in a meeting …someone lets one go …what will you do?

 No comments

 10.   The 1st thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word:

a)      Batman :  Movie

b)      Cricket : Sachin Tendulkar

c)       Airport : Lounge.

d)      Ood-bilav : No comments.

e)      Thai Green Curry : Love it

f)       Musharraf : Poor

g)      Monsoon : Love it

h)      Metric system : Measurement system

i)        Profit  : I work towards it.