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Green, keen tech work zone
- By March 2006, 6.75 lakh sq ft IT park with lifestyle add-ons

BENCHMARK HUB

6.75 lakh sq ft structure, with five lakh sq ft earmarked for office space

Investment of Rs 92 crore, construction to be completed by March 2006

Eco-friendly structure, healthy
in-house air quality

Range of facilities, from pub to business centre and food court to florist shop

Billed as country’s first green building

Till yesterday, the strongest USP for Calcutta as an attractive information technology (IT) destination was its talent pool. Today, if IT minister Manab Mukherjee is to be believed, the government has found another carrot to lure investors ' quality IT workspace.

'We have a little over a million sq ft of IT work area in the city. But by 2006, another four million sq ft will be added,' said Mukherjee on Tuesday, at a function to launch Technopolis, coming up at the Salt Lake Electronics Complex (Saltlec).

To be executed by city-based developers Saraf Group, which built Forum Shopping Mall on Elgin Road, the project involves setting up a 6.75-lakh sq ft state-of-the-art IT park.

'This building will be unique, as it will be the city's first green building. We have plans to add some of the features of this set-up as benchmarks for other buildings,' said Mukherjee, who doubles as the state's environment minister.

From generating cost savings up to 30 per cent by optimising energy consumption to providing a healthy indoor air quality by electronic monitoring of carbon dioxide levels, the 14-storeyed building in the state's IT hub will set a new standard in the city, claimed the promoters.

'Such green buildings are fast becoming a norm in the US,' said developer Rahul Saraf, claiming that once completed, the building would be the single-largest IT set-up in the city. The 1.3 million IT space at the DLF mega complex coming up in Rajarhat will be spread over three towers.

'We will complete the construction at one go,' promised Saraf, explaining how the structure was being built to the specifications of the US Green Building Council. The company will invest around Rs 92 crore on the project and is working on a March 2006 deadline.

Elaborating on the green specifications ' oxygen-rich environment, abundant natural light, minimum noise pollution, use of recyclable products for construction and provision for water harvesting ' Saraf added that Technopolis will be fitted with the best possible safety equipment to tackle fire and other potential hazards.

'Then, we will have the lifestyle add-ons, like a wired business centre, food court, pub, gymnasium, convenience store and ATMs,' he added.

Technopolis will come up on a two-acre plot that earlier belonged to Phoenix Software, in which Webel, the state's nodal IT agency, held around nine per cent stake.

'But the company turned sick and the land was being used as a dumping ground. We acquired the company two months ago. Webel will continue to hold its equity,' said Saraf, declining comment on the acquisition cost.

'We haven't yet started marketing the project, but we are confident that given the growth of the IT industry in the region, roping in clients will not be a problem,' summed up Saraf.

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