The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Crater cover in Premji path

If the country's second richest man is in town, presenting the best face of Bengal becomes priority number one for the state government.

On the eve of Azim Premji's arrival in the city, to formally inaugurate Wipro's facility in Salt Lake Electronics Complex (Saltlec), it was all happening at the tech town on Thursday.

From repairing ravaged roads to clearing the clutter, trimming the trees to removing illegal settlers, preparations to provide Premji with a perfect pathway to and from the IT hub were in full swing.

'Yes, these activities can be linked to Premji's visit,' confirmed S.K. Mitra, managing director, Webel, the state government's nodal IT agency, responsible for affairs in Saltlec.

'The instruction has come from the chief minister's office and the CMDA has been entrusted with the responsibility. Though initially the deadline was October 10, work picked up around a week ago. This is not relaying of the surface, it is only patchwork,' explained Mitra, stressing the need for long-term measures to improve the condition of roads in Sector V.

Premji, in the presence of state chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, will formally inaugurate the company's sprawling campus, on 12.1 acres in Sector V, on Friday morning.

'Under normal circumstances, widening of the road near the Wipro campus was scheduled to be completed by March 2005. But we have speeded up the work for the inauguration,' said K.S. Rajendrakumar, principal secretary, urban development department.

A thousand-strong brigade from the CMDA, the state urban development department and Bidhannagar Municipality has been working round-the-clock, right through Wednesday's bandh as well.

Wipro kicked off its city operations in August and already has around 1,000 people on its rolls. 'In his last meeting with the chief minister, Premji had placed his demand for around 50 acres of land in Rajarhat and it is a clear indication that the company has big plans lined up for Bengal,' said state IT secretary G.D. Gautama.

Besides the inaugural ceremony, Premji's other programmes on Friday include an interaction with Wipro's employees and a session with the city's business community in the evening.

'I hope Premji increases the frequency of his Calcutta visits and the roads remain in good shape,' observed an employee with a leading IT company while referring to the last-minute burst of patchwork.

The approach roads to the 11.6 km zip-zap-zoom stretch, connecting the state's IT hub with the airport, and the roads leading to the flyover at Chingrihata were given a last-minute facelift.

Construction of an 800-metre stretch on the Salt Lake Bypass from the Karunamoyee crossing to the tech town has also been completed.

'We have undertaken a massive drive to clear garbage and evict encroachers,' added Sutanu Kar, executive officer, Salt Lake.

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