More than 1.3 million sq ft of office space spread over three swank towers, where around 12,000 to 15,000 people can work towards Vision Bengal. A giant commercial area with retail outlets, food courts and entertainment opportunities… The work-and-play list goes on.
The edifice coming up at Rajarhat is symbolic of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s information technology (IT) dream for Bengal. The chief minister wants the state to be among the top three IT destinations by 2008, accounting for a share of around 15 per cent of the country’s IT revenue.
To be built by Delhi-based real estate major DLF with an investment of over Rs 280 crore, the IT habitat will be the “first of its kind” infrastructure in this part of the country.
“We will complete the entire project at one go. We have a 24-month deadline in mind,” said Yogesh Verma, chief executive, DLF.
The government, which gave the Rs 1,000-crore company the option to roll out the project in phases, is happy with DLF’s dash to the finishing line.
“This will create a positive impact for the state,” said S.K. Mitra, managing director, Webel, which is monitoring the project and co-ordinating with DLF.
Designed by Hafeez Contractor, the IT habitat will have three towers — ground-plus-14 floors, ground-plus-eight floors, and ground-plus-15 floors — with a landscaped garden at the heart of the plot, besides a commercial area to make the complex “a self-contained city”.
Verma said: “The towers can easily match the most modern IT workspace anywhere in Asia. The design of the floors has been done keeping in mind the needs of IT companies and to make their operations easier.”
Before kicking off work on the 10-acre site, on the north-eastern fringe of the city, the DLF brass is now camping in town with the final blueprint of the project and is tying up the loose ends with various government agencies.
“The project schedule has already been finalised and DLF is keen to start piling work from this month itself. They are just awaiting the green signal from Hidco,” said Mitra. Piling, he added, would be complete in three months before digging begins in September, after the monsoons.
The company has built over 2.5 million sq ft of commercial space with DLF city, the 3,000 acre township in Gurgaon being its flagship project. It houses some of the biggest global entities in India.
To make its first project outside North India visible in other parts of the country, DLF has started promoting Calcutta aggressively at various forums like the ITES-BPO summit in Bangalore in May, which was organised by the National Association for Software and Services Companies.
“The interest shown by the industry was very encouraging. It proves that people are accepting that things are happening in Calcutta,” explained Verma. He also added that with “saturation” being felt in other cities and the doors of Calcutta just opening up for outsiders, the flow of companies will soon pick up.
Though recent months have seen commercial space rents soaring in other metros, DLF wants to link rates to the Calcutta market and is not looking at a short payback period.
“Our primary concern is to establish our brand here by creating world-class infrastructure and facilitating the growth of the IT industry in the region,” summed up Verma.