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Narayana Murthy revives campus hope

Infosys chairman emeritus N.R. Narayana Murthy on Friday held out hope for the company’s proposed maiden campus in Calcutta, caught in an SEZ bind.

“I am certainly positive. There is no doubt about it… there are solutions to all the major problems of the world,” Murthy said in the city when asked about the project.

“Therefore, there is a solution to everything that we think is unsolvable in the country,” he added, stressing the need to ensure that it was easy to conduct business in the country. Murthy was speaking on the sidelines of a programme to award scholarships to meritorious students without financial means.

In February, during a visit to the city, he had said Infosys was waiting for the state government to fulfil certain conditions, hinting at grant of SEZ status to the project. The company is reluctant to be in a position of disadvantage against competitors like Wipro, which already enjoys SEZ benefits in Bengal.

“We would review the project at an appropriate time,” a spokesperson for Infosys said in an email to Metro on Friday.

The IT major has put the project on hold following the Mamata Banerjee government’s in-principle opposition to grant it the SEZ tag.

This was after the company had received the land map of the 50-acre plot in Rajarhat from Hidco, after making full payment at Rs. 1.5 crore an acre.

The previous Left Front government had assured Infosys of help to secure the SEZ tag, a promise that the company wants the current Trinamul Congress government to honour.

“We are hopeful that we will not be pushed to discontinue the project in Calcutta,” Binod Hampapur, senior vice president & global head (commercial & corporate relations), Infosys, had said after a visit to the city to discuss the project with state IT minister Partha Chatterjee.

The state government, in a move to save the project, which has the potential to create 5,000 jobs, wrote to the Centre seeking extension of tax benefits under the earlier Software Technology Parks of India scheme. It initiated talks so that the campus could be set up in an existing SEZ, where Infosys could also be a co-developer.

The government requested the Centre to provide tax sops to the project and promised 100 per cent stamp duty exemption, electricity duty waiver and other incentives.