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Mamata Banerjee: ‘Good news’ on Wipro

Wipro has revived a decade-old project to build a second campus in Calcutta that will create 10,000 jobs

By Sambit Saha and Pinak Ghosh in Calcutta
  • Published 2.08.19, 2:15 AM
  • Updated 2.08.19, 2:15 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday announced Wipro’s renewed interest in the venture, which is slated to come up on a 50-acre plot in Rajarhat. Telegraph picture

IT major Wipro has revived a decade-old project to build a second campus in Calcutta, proposing to invest Rs 500 crore that will create 10,000 jobs.

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday announced Wipro’s renewed interest in the venture, which is slated to come up on a 50-acre plot in Rajarhat.

Once approved by the state cabinet, the company will build the first phase of the campus within a year.

Officials said Wipro was likely to work on software development in the new facility, in contrast with the existing campus in Sector V where it mostly does business process outsourcing.

“Let me give you two good news. One is that Wipro is again coming to Bengal. About 10,000 youths will get jobs. They are taking 50 acres. They have already agreed,” the chief minister said at Nazrul Mancha, at the end of a walk from Birla Planetarium as part of the Save Green Stay Clean campaign.

Sources in the government said the Wipro plan to set up a high-tech centre would boost brand Bengal and promote the state as an attractive destination for tech firms.

Infosys and Wipro, two of India’s top technology firms, were offered land at a concessional rate of Rs 1.5 crore an acre by the erstwhile Left Front government in 2009, when Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was chief minister.

The projects, however, did not see light of the day as the Trinamul Congress government declined the tax-friendly special economic zone status to these firms.

After years of stalemate, Infosys revived the project in 2017 when the Bengal government offered to compensate for the presumptive loss from the denial of the SEZ status.

Infosys was allowed to convert the land from leasehold to freehold. Moreover, it was allowed to use 49 per cent of the land for non-IT purposes, subject to the state government’s clearance.

The fact that SEZ tax breaks were coming to an end in India appeared to have influenced the decision making. Moreover, Infosys was getting the land at the same price as the Left had offered, though the market value increased many times.

Government sources said Wipro was going to be offered similar terms as Infy for the second campus.

“We have been asking them for a long time to do something on the land which is in their possession and only recently they have agreed go ahead,” a government official said.

Wipro’s first campus, the first IT SEZ in Bengal, is located across 25 acres. It employs 8,000 people.

Microsoft

The chief minister also announced that global tech major Microsoft would partner weavers of Nadia to rejuvenate their business.

“The company will execute Project Sangam and Project ReWeave, which will benefit about 6lakh taant weavers. The two projects would make the weavers more self-sufficient and increase their earnings by 25 per cent,” she said.

Microsoft, as part of their corporate social responsibility drive, will offer the weavers new designs and also help them with buyers based on their cloud technology.