The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Buddha bags Satyam from Cyberabad

Jan. 30: Not just a bouquet of compliments, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee got the country’s fourth largest IT company to agree to invest in Bengal during a roadshow in Hyderabad today.

On the sidelines of a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organised meet in the Andhra Pradesh capital, B. Ramalinga Raju, the chairman of Satyam Infosystems, signed on the dotted line confirming the company’s decision to set up a software development centre in Calcutta.

“Calcutta is developing into a promising destination for IT companies. We hope to develop the centre there as a regional hub for our software development activities,” Raju said while addressing the media after the meet that was attended by over 150 representatives from leading corporate houses.

The Bengal government has already allotted 2.77 acres to Satyam in Salt Lake Electronics Complex (Saltlec) to set up the 300,000 sq ft development centre. A memorandum of understanding was signed between Raju and S.K. Mitra, the managing director of Webel, in the presence of Bhattacharjee.

In Calcutta, infotech minister Manab Mukherjee gave a detailed account of Satyam’s plans. “They will immediately kick off operations from a 50,000 sq ft rented space in Saltlec. After sorting out the logistics, they will start working from their own facility. We understand that their investment will be around Rs 50 crore,” said Mukherjee.

With Satyam adding Calcutta to its address book, the city will have three of the top four IT companies in the country. Tata Consultancy Services already has its presence in Calcutta and Wipro will start its operations from Saltlec in March. Only Infosys has not touched down yet.

Not just Raju, other CII southern region members like Visakha Group managing director G. Vivekanand, who showed interest in investing in Bengal during a one-on-one with Bhattacharjee today, had good words to say about the state after the chief minister’s 12-minute address.

Bhattacharjee did his best to showcase the strengths of Bengal and invited investors to put their money in sectors ranging from IT and agri-business to pharmaceuticals and the metal industry.

Anticipating the mood at the meet, the chief minister, now a veteran in speaking at such gatherings, addressed the issue of trade unionism besides clarifying his government’s stand on restricting rallies.

“We will not allow irresponsible trade unionism. The workers must behave and our party is fully committed to West Bengal’s industrialisation,” he said.

When Bhattacharjee finished, there was applause, but not before the gathering had thrown at him uncomfortable, if predictable, questions about the Left’s attitude towards industry and the problem of labour militancy.

Industries and commerce secretary Sabyasachi Sen followed up the address with a presentation on “resurgent Bengal”.

“The image of West Bengal is suffering because of the utterances of your party colleagues outside the state. Why don’t you restrict them'” asked someone from the audience.

“I am aware of that fact and we are taking it up at all levels in the party to ensure that development is not handicapped,” said Bhattacharjee, who was in Hyderabad to take part in the CPM politburo and central committee meetings.

On labour problems, the chief minister said the government’s new policies have incorporated clauses to counter irresponsible trade unionism. “Both my government and me are realistic… Our policies clearly mention the dos and don’ts for trade unions,” said Bhattacharjee.

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