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Gwalior eyes infotech slice

Gwalior, Oct. 20: Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digvijay Singh today launched the Counter Magnet Project in Gwalior West, launching the state’s attempt to set up the latest information technology hub in the country and attract some of the business going the Bangalore and Hyderabad way.

The infrastructure development initiative for the Shrimant Madhavrao Scindia Concept City, scheduled to be completed by June 2003, will cost an estimated Rs 60 crore.

At a seminar organised by the CII-western region, the chief minister announced exemption of stamp duty and entertainment tax for businesses that set up shop in the IT park. The government is also planning a sales tax relief for the units, he added.

The project aims to create satellite townships that can offer knowhow and technology similar to that offered in other big IT-savvy cities like Hyderabad and Bangalore.

The concept city will also try to snatch a slice of the attention heaped on Delhi — the most accessible place from Gwalior — and take some of the crowd pressure off the capital.

But Digvijay conceded “it is not easy to shift the focus of IT to Gwalior. When Mohammed Bin Tughlaq could not shift the capital from Delhi, how will I be able to do so”'

But the initiative comes at an opportune moment — the state has successfully implemented its Gyandoot project to enable grassroots participation in e-governance.

The chief minister said “one needs to settle all differences and move with unanimity in the area of technology. We need to share similar sentiments towards development, no arguments on this”.

The Madhya Pradesh government had constituted the Special Area Development Authority in 1992 to develop the Gwalior West project. Gwalior is among the five regional hubs planned simultaneously with Bareilly, Hissar, Patiala, Kota by the Union urban development ministry.

At the seminar, Hughes Software Systems president and Nasscom head Arun Kumar said: “In the presence of three international telecom gateway hubs and two distinct telecom providers in the state like BSNL and Bharti, Madhya Pradesh stands out to be the biggest beneficiary as far as telecom infrastructure is concerned. MP has the highest bandwidth availability which can utilise optic fibre cable and the digital network provided by BSNL.”

City MP Jyotiraditya Scindia said: “Manufacturing and services have been the most vibrant hand in taking any economy forward. We have pledged to make Gwalior the services hub of MP by the year 2004”.

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