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Cheap land for Infosys, Wipro

Calcutta, Sept. 14: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s government has found land for Infosys and Wipro, the two infotech biggies it wants badly, at rates it hopes will make them happy.

The government has marked out land for both on the outskirts of the Rajarhat township. Prices there hover around Rs 50 lakh an acre. According to officials, both companies have expressed satisfaction at the development.

The land originally identified by the two IT companies in Rajarhat cost Rs 2 crore an acre, a price both refused to pay, making this amply clear on countless occasions and stressing how other states were offering space at much lower prices.

Once the duo made their mind known, the West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) was assigned the task of identifying land elsewhere.

Last week, the chief minister wrote to Wipro chairman Azim Premji, informing him about the new site and the rate. “The company’s vice-chairman has written back agreeing. It is a matter of great relief to us,” said a government official.

The chief minister intervened when the two companies expressed their inability to pay Rs 2 crore an acre. Earlier this month, Bhattacharjee gave the assurance that the IT companies would not shun Bengal because of “prohibitive” land prices, saying that he was in touch with them.

Although an earlier intervention by the chief minister had brought down land prices in Rajarhat to Rs 1.5 crore an acre, Wipro had turned it down, terming it “too steep”.

“Both companies had told us they wanted land between Rs 30 and 50 lakh an acre. WBIDC is acquiring the land on behalf of the two companies. We should be able to transfer the land to them in four to six months,” an official in the chief minister’s secretariat said.

Infosys, too, is said to have agreed to take a plot after surveying the area. It is seeking around 100 acres to set up shop in Bengal while Wipro, which wants to expand operations, wants 53 acres for its second establishment.

This is the second time the government has gone out of its way to accommodate IT interests. Earlier, it had cut property tax for such companies.

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