The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rs 100-crore biotech park with IIT help

Chandrakona Road, Jan. 11: State industries minister Nirupam Sen announced today that the government would set up a Rs 100-crore biotechnology park at Kharagpur in collaboration with the IIT there.

Sen said the biotechnology park, which would come up on about 100 acres in Kharagpur's industrial area, will house a state-of-the art laboratory.

'We want to set up the biotechnology park for investors in the drug and cosmetics industry, who will be able to avail of the research facilities there.

'We will expand the industrial area from Kharagpur to Lodhashuli, 20 km away. We also have plans to set up a modern township on 300 acres in Kharagpur,' Sen said while inaugurating a cement factory here in West Midnapore, 170 km from Calcutta.

Officials said the Centre's department of biotechnology has agreed to provide Rs 38 crore and the state government would pitch in with another Rs 10 crore. The Centre's research and development wing and the IIT will provide the rest of the funds.

'We have identified the required land and are in the process of buying it,' the minister said. The site is around 130 km from Calcutta.

IIT director Sisir Kumar Dubey said: 'We are giving final shape to the project and are in talks with the state government.'

IIT officials said work on the laboratory, which would cost Rs 50 crore, is expected to start after six months.

'The laboratory will immensely help the drug and cosmetics industry. These industries need highly sophisticated laboratories and spend a lot of money for research. They will be able to work in the biotech park's laboratory at a low cost. The laboratory will be able to earn revenue by hiring it out to the industries,' an IIT official said.

The chief technical officer of the project, Dhrubes Biswas, said the biotechnology park would also invite investment in healthcare, medicine, bio-processed food, bio-informatics and therapeutic and diagnostic centres.

IIT Kharagpur is taking steps to invite multinationals of the drugs and cosmetic sectors, particularly those from the US, he added.

'As far bio-processed food is concerned, there is scope for lot of research in the areas of nutrition. At the therapeutic and diagnostic centres, by examining genes, it would be possible to pin-point the diseases a child could suffer from and carry out treatment accordingly,' said Biswas.

He said the proposed project would have a provision to accommodate about 30 big industries from the fields of medicines and cosmetics. 'However, small and medium industries can seek advise on expansion from the big ones.'

He said as a large number of foreigners are expected to be associated with the units at the proposed park, modern residential complexes have been planned for them on the 300-acre township.

'We expect a lot of multinationals in the drug and cosmetic business to set up industries at the park. We want to create a township which will offer all modern facilities to them and other industrialists,' said Biswas.

Sen said several industrialists had approached the government to set up units in the Kharagpur industrial belt and its adjoining areas. Tata Motors was one of them.

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