23 January 2008

Fibreglass cos gung-ho over 25% growth

MUMBAI: With the rise in steel price and focus of the government towards infrastructure, wind energy projects, construction — the Rs 5,000-crore plus composites industry expects a 25% growth in the next 5 years. Composites are produced by combining polymer and glass fibre and are lighter than steel having low maintenance cost.

These are also exposed to volatility in price due to resins (polymer) that form over 50% part of the material. However, Chennai-based FRP Institute chairman Satish Kulkarni said that volatility in composites is less compared to metals.

Speaking to media persons on Wednesday, Mr Kulkarni said that the sector has also attracted foreign investments and many companies including Amiantit, Pentair, Georgia Pacific and Fibergrate have entered Indian markets. Also, there are many other companies that are expected to make big investments in this sector in the coming few years.

The present domestic capacity of composites is 140,000 tonnes and Mr Kulkarni feels that there is a potential to reach a capacity of one million tonnes in the next ten years.

Some recent cases where composites have been effectively used are pipes for water and sewage transportation, wind mill blade for wind turbines, street light poles for roads and highways, under-bonnet applications for automobiles, telecom cables and also in defence applications.

To further create an awareness about applications and use of reinforced plastics, the FRP Institute is also organising an international conference next month in the city where around 500 national and international delegates would be participating and deliberating on the issue.

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Lebanon Time-Line

Introducing Lebanon

Coolly combining the ancient with the ultramodern, Lebanon is one of the most captivating countries in the Middle East. From the Phoenician findings of Tyre (Sour) and Roman Baalbek's tremendous temple to Beirut's BO18 and Bernard Khoury's modern movement, the span of Lebanon's history leaves many visitors spinning. Tripoli (Trablous) is considered to have the best souk in the country and is famous for its Mamluk architecture. It's well equipped with a taste of modernity as well; Jounieh, formerly a sleepy fishing village, is a town alive with nightclubs and glitz on summer weekends.

With all of the Middle East's best bits - warm and welcoming people, mind-blowing history and considerable culture, Lebanon is also the antithesis of many people's imaginings of the Middle East: mostly mountainous with skiing to boot, it's also laid-back, liberal and fun. While Beirut is fast becoming the region's party place, Lebanon is working hard to recapture its crown as the 'Paris of the Orient'.

The rejuvenation of the Beirut Central District is one of the largest, most ambitious urban redevelopment projects ever undertaken. Travellers will find the excitement surrounding this and other developments and designs palpable - and very infectious.

Finally, Lebanon's cuisine is considered the richest of the region. From hummus to hommard (lobster), you'll dine like a king. With legendary sights, hospitality, food and nightlife, what more could a traveller want?

Introducing Beirut

What Beirut is depends entirely on where you are. If you’re gazing at the beautifully reconstructed colonial relics and mosques of central Beirut’s Downtown, the city is a triumph of rejuvenation over disaster.

If you’re in the young, vibrant neighbourhoods of Gemmayzeh or Achrafiye, Beirut is about living for the moment: partying, eating and drinking as if there’s no tomorrow. If you’re standing in the shadow of buildings still peppered with bullet holes, or walking the Green Line with an elderly resident, it’s a city of bitter memories and a dark past. If you’re with Beirut’s Armenians, Beirut is about salvation; if you’re with its handful of Jews, it’s about hiding your true identity. Here you’ll find the freest gay scene in the Arab Middle East, yet homosexuality is still illegal. If you’re in one of Beirut’s southern refugee camps, Beirut is about sorrow and displacement; other southern districts are considered a base for paramilitary operations and south Beirut is home to infamous Hezbollah secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah. For some, it’s a city of fear; for others, freedom.

Throw in maniacal drivers, air pollution from old, smoking Mercedes taxis, world-class universities, bars to rival Soho and coffee thicker than mud, political demonstrations, and swimming pools awash with more silicone than Miami. Add people so friendly you’ll swear it can’t be true, a political situation existing on a knife-edge, internationally renowned museums and gallery openings that continue in the face of explosions, assassinations and power cuts, and you’ll find that you’ve never experienced a capital city quite so alive and kicking – despite its frequent volatility.