WIPRO TO EXPAND IN WEST BENGAL
- April 7, 2019
- Posted by: Subhra B
- Category: Uncategorized
Infosys’ maiden venture may not be the only good news on Bengal’s IT hor-izon. A top-level team from the state’s IT department on Monday met officials of Wipro, right after a breakfast meeting with Infosys officials, in Bengaluru. The objective was to convince the Azim Premji-led IT major to invest in its proposed second campus in Rajarhat.
A source, however, said the state “was in no hurry”, and was adopting a wait-and-watch approach.
Infosys and Wipro have both been sitting on their allotted plots in Rajarhat-New Town (for Infosys’ first campus, and Wipro’s second) for the last nine years. Wipro’s first campus, in Salt Lake’s Sector V, is an SEZ. It was set up in 2005, during the Left regime. The IT major had demanded a similar status for the second, but that went against the current regime’s industrial policy.On Monday, the state officials met Wipro senior VP and global head (operation) Hariprasad Hegde and his team and explained to them the “other benefits” on offer ins-tead of the SEZ status and the “positive industrial environment” in the state . A questi-onnaire sent to Wipro headquarters in Bengaluru, however, didn’t elicit any response till the time of going to press.
A source close to the IT department said chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s statement at the July 6 Nasscom meet on the inability to provide SEZ status to industrial units in Bengal had cleared the deck for the Infosys investment. The chief minister had informed industry bigwigs that the state government was ready to offer any facility to the IT sector, except SEZ status, as it became “a sunset policy already”, following the onset of GST. “Infosys officials knew our government’s stance well before we met them. Thus, they never again raised the SEZ issue but asked about the ‘other facilities on offer’ and a ‘level-playing field’, as the chief minister said. And we could explain our government’s list of assistances to be offered to Infosys,” the source added.
In response to the state government’s proposal, the Infosys team, led by U Ramadas Kamath, executive VP and head of infrastructure, reportedly responded by saying that “the company wants to look forward instead of hanging on to the same old issue”.
In a statement released on Wednesday, Infosys said: “We have agreed to start construction of a development centre in Kolkata, which will have a capacity to seat around 1,000 people. We will submit the plan for the proposed centre to the West Bengal government as soon as the land registration process is complete.” State IT secretary Debasish Sen on Wednesday said that the land registration memo of Infosys is likely to be tabled at the state cabinet on September 8. Following the cabinet nod, the land papers will go to New Kolkata Development Authority (NKDA), headed by Sen himself, for a project plan sanction. “If all goes well, it may not take more than one and a half years for Infosys to start operations at its first Kolkata unit,” Sen added.