In a major development in connection with the longstanding stalemate over the proposed project of Infosys at Rajarhat, the IT major has given the remaining Rs 25 crore of the total price of its 50 acre land in Rajarhat to West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (WBHIDCO) in November.
Firhad Hakim, the state Urban Development minister, said in the Assembly on Saturday: “Infosys has given a total of Rs 25 crore to WBHIDCO last month. Cognizant is also planning an expansion in the state. TCS has developed its biggest office building in Rajarhat where 40,000 people can work at a time.”
It gives an indication that the IT major is inclined to invest in order to develop its first unit in Bengal that would result in a generation of jobs in the IT sector and it has come up as a success story of the Mamata Banerjee government ahead of the Bengal Global Business Summit scheduled on January 20 and 21.
It may be mentioned that uncertainty prevailed over investment by the IT major after the Centre had rejected its proposal to set up a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Bengal as the state had not given its recommendation in this regard.
Infosys and Wipro had taken 50 acre of land each during the Left Front regime in September 2009. The total cost of 50 acre of land is around Rs 50 crore. Earlier, Infosys had given Rs 25 crore to WBHIDCO and the remaining amount has been paid in the last month after a visit by a delegation comprising director-level officials of Infosys to the plot.
The development took place when three other IT majors – Wipro, Cognizant and IBM – approached the state government for land to set up more units in Bengal.
He said that Cognizant has sought land for its fourth unit as it already has three units at Bantala, Salt Lake and Rajarhat. Though the land has not been identified yet, it will be given in Rajarhat itself. At the same time, Wipro has also shown eagerness to get another plot for further expansion.
The IT major’s request for more plots comes at a time when the West Bengal Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Assembly on Monday allowing all Municipal Corporations, like Kolkata Municipal Corporation, “to determine the time period and modalities of exemption from payment of property tax on any land and building which is exclusively used for IT and Information Technology Enables Services (ITeS) purpose”.
While placing the Amendment Bill, Hakim stated that the state is lagging behind in the IT sector just due to protests of the Left parties against computerisation. “We had missed the bus. Now, we are taking steps under the leadership of the Chief Minister to make the state the best destination for investment in the IT sector,” Hakim said.
Sabyasachi Dutta, Mayor of Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation and MLA from New Town Assembly constituency, said that IBM has also expressed their eagerness to get land for its fourth unit in Bengal. The tech major already has three units at Salt Lake and one in Rajarhat.