The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Infosys on campus hunt
- Govt will push Bantala during tech giant's land recce trip

Infosys Technologies is coming to Calcutta next week, and this time it means business. If the recce goes according to plan on March 6 and 7, the IT services, solutions and business consulting major should plot a campus in town.

T.V. Mohandas Pai, Infosys CFO, will spend two days checking out plots at Rajarhat and in the Bantala special economic zone, before meeting chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, IT minister Manab Mukherjee and industry minister Nirupam Sen.

'We have been looking at Calcutta for a while now, ever since Mr Murthy met the chief minister in September,' Pai told Metro on Thursday.

Infosys chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy had then expressed a keen interest in setting up the company's next development centre here. 'Calcutta always had a great talent pool. I am very impressed with the state of infrastructure here. I will go back and talk to my colleagues about these developments and will send a team to check out opportunities here.'

Five months on, Infosys board member Pai, who looks after the company's expansion plans, will be carrying the Infosys story forward.

'We had planned to come down earlier, but could not do so for various reasons. This trip is going to be like a due diligence meeting and we hope to have something positive come out of it,' he said.

The 'positive' could be a campus in Calcutta. 'Infosys has always gone for the campus route to set up its operations in a city, since we believe that is the way global corporations work,' stressed Pai.

But that would only come into play if 'the terms and conditions with regard to land, infrastructure, etc', offered by the state government, make business sense to Infosys.

'We will show them Bantala and Rajarhat, with Bantala being the first preference,' said Manab Mukherjee.

Was that to avoid a rate roadblock in Rajarhat, where Hidco has refused to climb down from Rs 2.16 crore per acre' 'We will sit down and discuss the rate issue, but that should not be a problem,' claimed the IT minister.

Infosys already has nine software development centres in India ' Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Mysore, Mohali, Bhubaneswar, Mysore and Thiruvananthapuram. It has crossed $1.75 billion in revenues, and has an employee headcount of around 47,000.

Reason enough for minister Mukherjee to crow: 'The coming of Infosys is a big feather in the cap for the state's IT industry.'

With a lot of the state's IT dreams hinging on the company's actually setting up campus in Calcutta, G.D. Gautama, principal secretary, department of IT, chose to be more circumspect.

'Yes, the Infosys team will be in Calcutta on March 6 and 7. But it is too early to predict anything as they plan to check out various options before finalising anything,' he said.

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