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World Trade Centre in town

Bhubaneswar, July 8: The city today got connected to business networks around the globe with the World Trade Centre (WTC), which has its presence in 100 countries, opening its 344th branch here.

Though the inaugural function was held at a hotel with chief minister Naveen Patnaik doing the honours, the centre will function from Idco Tower till its own building comes up at Maitri Vihar behind Fortune Towers.

Sources said the WTC, Bhubaneswar, is likely to be a 40-storey complex, the tallest building in the city so far.

The inauguration of the WTC coincided with the foundation stone laying for a world-class convention centre near Janata Maidan by the chief minister. The centre will have a skywalk facility.

Naveen said the WTC, Bhubaneswar, which will be controlled by the WTC, Mumbai, for operational purposes, would act as a catalyst for local business linking them with global players who may like to venture into the state. This will open new vistas of business and technology co-operation.

He hoped that the WTC, Bhubaneswar, would help promote entrepreneurship in export-import in the field of information technology, electronic hardware manufacturing, metal-based downstream industries, handloom, handicraft and seafood.

Industries secretary and chairman and managing director of the Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco) Vishal Dev said: “The convention centre in Bhubaneswar will be at par with the leading cities in meeting, incentive, convention and exhibition tourism as leisure travellers are getting attracted to Odisha.”

In the past few years, Bhubaneswar has emerged as one of the favoured destinations for holding national-level business meets. He said that since the state was now a favoured investment destination, a convention-cum-trade facilitation centre was a necessity for the city.

The WTC building, when it comes up near the Fortune Towers, will be connected with the convention centre with a skywalk.

Populous Designs Ltd, a consultant with hands-on experience in designing convention centres and stadiums across the world, will design both the WTC tower and the convention centre in the city.

Puneet Khunger, director (India) of Populous told The Telegraph: “The convention centre will be one of its kind in the country with a big amphitheatre, indoor exhibition hall and ample space for organising public meetings. Effort will be made to maintain the original character of the Janata Maidan as much as possible while making maximum possible use of Odia art and craft in designing.”

Tour operator Srikant Mishra said: “The convention centre will definitely give a boost to the tourism-related activities, including convention-based tourism.”

The city, which boasts of several good hotels, lacks a world-class convention centre.