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IT park in pipeline for state

- Plan to develop campus with services for software industries

Patna, Jan. 17: On the lines of Hyderabad’s Software Technology Park and Bangalore’s International Tech Park, Patna is all set to get an Information Technology (IT) Park in the heart of the city very soon.

The state urban development and housing department has set the ball rolling to develop a state-of-the-art IT park along the eastern boundary of Maurya Lok Complex in the Dakbungalow area. The task has been assigned to its executing agency, the Bihar Urban Infrastructure Development Corporation (BUIDCo).

“We would soon float tenders for inviting bids from firms interested in providing consultancy for development of the IT park and prepare the corresponding detailed project report (DPR). Once the DPR is furnished, a formal proposal would be sent to the state cabinet for approval,” said a senior official of BUIDCo.

According to sources, the government was initially keen on setting up the maiden IT park of the state at Bihta, around 34km southwest of Patna. Around 25 acres of land was acquired for this purpose as well. However, later the location of the proposed IT park was shifted to Rajgir.

“In the meantime, chief minister Nitish Kumar floated the idea of setting up an IT park at Patna first. BUIDCo has been asked to prepare the details of the project and make the necessary progress in this direction,” said the BUIDCo official.

Sources claimed an estimated outlay of around Rs 200 crore would be spent to develop the facility over an area of around 6,000-7,000 square metres. The proposed facility would have the capacity to accommodate around 300 corporate offices at one place. (See graphics)

The site at present is occupied by government bungalows of several legislators, including that of former tourism minister Sunil Kumar ‘Pintu’ and has a vacant plot as well.

On the facilities to be developed at the proposed IT park, the government source said it would be equipped with basic facilities such as high bandwidth facility, uninterrupted power supply and round-the-clock delivery of certain basic services must for IT industries.

“The basic idea is to develop an integrated campus that would provide all prequisites for opening offices by corporate firms involved in software development and IT at one given place,” said a senior official of BUIDCo.

The building of the proposed IT park is being planned to be a 24-storied structure. “Though we intend to build a 24-storied structure, it would depend on the approval on the height given by the Airports Authority (AAI) of India. As per existing building bylaws, permission is to be sought from the AAI if the height of building is more than 23 metres,” said the BUIDCo official.

Sources claimed that the government has at present kept both options — public-private-partnership (PPP) and state funded mode — open for execution of the project. “Under the PPP mode, the private investor undertaking the development works would be have the option to collect user charges from the companies setting up their offices in the proposed park,” said the BUIDCo official.

Though the government seems keen on setting up the technology park, IT giants in the country have suggested that the proposed facility should be developed under the purview of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

“The IT park has become an obsolete concept. No one wants to be a part of an IT park these days. Most companies prefer operating from SEZs these days due to the tax benefits associated with them. Even Zensar plans to expand its operations by operating from new SEZs in tier-2 cities like Bhubaneswar and Bhopal. If the Bihar government also sets up a SEZ for the IT industry, we would definitely consider the option to operate from here,” said Ganesh Natarajan, vice-chairman and CEO, Zensar Technologies, and former chairman of National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom).