The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Premji warns and wants
- Wipro unhappy about bandhs, CM happy about acres

Calcutta, April 4: This time, Azim Premji came and saw bandh after bandh. Er' also the land of opportunity, reminded Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

The Wipro chairman, who had a few months ago crowned Bhattacharjee the best chief minister in the country, today expressed concern at the recurrence of bandhs in Bengal.

'There is an urgent need to curtail the number of bandhs in the state. In the last seven months since we became operational, there has been six bandhs. When the bandhs hit the headlines of newspapers, our customers become concerned,' he said.

Reacting to the statement later, Bhattacharjee did not beg to differ with the Wipro chief. 'I agree that bandhs should not take place.'

However, the chief minister added: 'But about what Premji said, all I can say is that he has just asked for another 50 acres in Rajarhat.'

Wipro is planning to invest in a second software development complex in Bengal's upcoming infotech hub in Rajarhat if it gets the status of special economic zone.

Premji was in the city to address a Ficci-organised interactive session on creating world-class enterprises with diverse growth engines.

His comment on bandhs ' official records show the state had four such strikes, not six, in the last seven months ' came in response to a question raised by former Ficci president Sudhir Jalan.

Premji brought along bouquets, too, for Bengal but coupled with a warning about a challenge the state faces from another communist bastion.

He said Bengal is making great strides in information technology and it should have direct flights to Japan, the east coast of America and Frankfurt for the sector to flourish further. Germany is a potential customer of the IT sector.

Premji cautioned that China would emerge as the biggest threat to India in the coming years in infotech outsourcing.

Proficiency in English language is a major constraint for the Chinese at the moment, but this handicap is likely to be overcome in the next five to 10 years, he said.

'The Chinese are very hard-working, competitive, and dedicated, as a result of which they are able to overcome any odds by dint of labour.'

He said India should not remain complacent and infotech companies as well as the government should invest in quality processing and other related areas to stay ahead in global competition.

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