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Webel pilots Saltlec home for ITES companies

The West Bengal government will build a state-of-the-art centre at the Salt Lake Electronics Complex (Saltlec) to house business process outsourcing (BPO) companies. Webel has been entrusted with the responsibility of working out the financial and architectural details of the project.

The state government’s nodal IT agency has already identified two acres in Sector V and is in the midst of finalising the funds-flow requirements for the first integrated IT-enabled services (ITES) complex in town. “The infrastructure needs of the ITES industry is significantly different from that of the IT services industry. For instance, ITES players prefer buildings with an average floor space of a minimum of 20,000 sq ft. Besides, there are other specifications, like connectivity and recreation facilities for the employees,” said S.K. Mitra, Webel managing director.

The sheer logistics have prompted the government to take the lead in setting up the building. The decision was also triggered by growing interest among major BPO players in setting up shop in the city.

Nasscom, the apex body of software and services companies in the country, has recently rated Calcutta among the top four destinations for the ITES industry. “Calcutta has it all to emerge as the ITES hub in the eastern region. It needs some more aggression from the government to translate the potential into performance,” said Kiran Karnik, president, Nasscom, during his visit to Calcutta in the first week of December for Infocom 2002.

So, besides teaming up with McKinsey to pitch for ITES investments in the state, the government is also laying in place proper infrastructure, well in time to ride the wave.

As per the plans, the building — dedicated to ITES companies only — will have over 200,000 sq ft of available floor space. “It will be able to accommodate over 2,500 people,” said Mitra. The project cost is pegged somewhere between Rs 30 crore and Rs 40 crore, with money to be raised through government bonds and a probable tie-up with a private player.

“The land is ours, so transfer won’t take any time. We will just have to work out the project details and will draw up the full plan within three or four weeks. The proposal will then be forwarded to the government and we expect to kick off construction of the building by April 2003,” added Mitra.

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