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Orissa gears up to attract IT investors

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DQW Bureau
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Over the last two years West Bengal and Orissa have emerged as strong

contenders for becoming the next IT hub of the country. The Orissa gover-nment

has initiated many projects to attract IT to the state. The first STPI of Orissa

was started in Bhubaneswar in 1992 with about four software development

companies and had exports worth around Rs 21 lakh. Gradually software giants

like Satyam and Infosys also jumped on the bandwagon.

Presently Orissa has been ranked as seventh in the country as far as software

export is concerned. In 2005—06 the state had exports worth of Rs 600 crore.

The state has a set target Rs 1,000 crore to be achieved by 2008.

Throwing light on the state's IT policy and future plans Surjya Narayan

Patro, Minister, Energy and Informa-tion Technology, Government of Orissa said,

“We have identified and established a separate landscape in Bhubaneswar,

called the Infocity and have dedicated it for the development of IT and ITeS

industry. Recently Infocity was declared as a special economic zone (SEZ) which

will ensure more facilities for the investors.”

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Surjya Narayan Patro,

Minister, Energy and Information Technology, Government of Orissa

To attract IT companies land inside Infocity is available at a nominal rate

of Rs 15 lakh per acre. The other facilities intro-duced by the state government

matches well with the high-tech infrastructure requisition of the IT industry.

“Among all other prominent facilities provided by the government are non

application of labor laws, proper broad-band connectivity and allot-ment of less

stamp duty for land registration within Infocity. IT majors like TCS, Wipro,

Mindtree and Hexa-ware have already signed MoU with us to setup their

infrastructure in the state. Land has been allotted to them and they have

already started their activities,” Patro elaborated.

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The government's proactive stand has drawn many compa-nies to the state and

the land at Infocity is almost exhausted. The government is now on lookout for

another area to identify and create Infocity Phase II. Throwing light on the

next phase Patro said, “We have identified an area of more than 200 acres

between Cuttack and Bhubaneswar to accommodate future inves-tors. On the

national highway it is just 15 kms away from the state capital.”

That apart the state govern-ment is also setting up Know-ledge Centers in

rural areas, to take IT to the masses.

Interestingly, unlike soft-ware the hardware industry in Orissa is yet to

develop. “As far as hardware industry is concerned we are waiting for the

manufacturers to app-roach us for setting up their factories,” Patro added.

Currently the state is gearing up to become BPO friendly and is holding talks

with several international clients. The government is also planning to set up

institutes to provide training so that the local manpower becomes competitive as

per the industry requirement. Right now there are about 40 local BPO operators

in the city.

Piyali Guha, Bhubaneswar, June 1

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