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Now, Nagpur is next IT destination

November 30, 2006 12:02 IST

Central location, ample educational institutions and cheaper trained workforce attract IT firms.

Nagpur may be the destination next for several information technology firms during the next couple of years.

From having new set-ups to massive expansion plans, the city is on the radar of several companies, including IT majors to mid-cap ones. The central location, ample number of educational institutions and cheaper trained workforce are attracting IT firms.

This was very much in evidence at the 'Destination Nagpur', a seminar organised by Nasscom, here recently. Here are rough plans spelt out by five major IT companies who have Nagpur on their radar:

Leading IT company, Satyam, which has already been allotted around 130 hectares of land at the special economic zone, is aiming to set up its unit by 2008.

The unit will employ at least 500 people in software development and allied activities, said Satyam's director and senior vice president Vijay Prasad.

"We are also contemplating implementing our "Gram IT" initiative in the region. This encourages people in villages to take up back office functions. The job is done at villages and not much education is required for getting employment. Satyam presently employs around 400 persons under the project," he said.

The business process outsourcing division of Wipro conducted a survey in the city a week ago and is keen on setting up a BPO unit here. The unit may be set up outside the SEZ and search is on for a suitable site.

"There is this restriction of taking two hectares land in the SEZ but our unit would be smaller. It would still employ 500 persons," said Wipro's general manager (technology), Rajiv Gerala. Wipro has BPO assignments from companies in the US and UK.

Lately, it bagged a contract from a US oil major to track the movement of stock from depots to gas stations, he said.

Global Logic, which recently took over city-based Lambent Technologies, also plans a 100 per cent expansion every year in the city. "Our unit covers 25,000 square feet near Besa and we are in the process of expanding to occupy a total of 45,000 square feet," said vice-president (corporate development) Rajul Garg.

The expansion drive, wherein the work would be doubled every year, would continue for at least three to four years, he said. Global Logic also plans to get listed on American bourses, he added.

The workforce would also be sourced through a unique programme called SETU started by Lambent Technologies. Under this, there is a tie-up with educational institutions and students are given 1,000 hours of free training before being absorbed, Garg said.

The unit here would mainly focus on software used for cellphones, he elaborated.

Hyderabad-based Infotech too did a recce at the SEZ and called on officials of the Maharashtra Airport Development Company - the agency implementing this project.

Infotech will be opening two new units in Vishakapattnam and Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh next year and will add Nagpur to the list in 2008, said chairman, BVR Mohan Reddy.

"In fact, a lot of activity in the aviation front has attracted us to Nagpur as we specialise in aviation related software. The company's clients include aircraft majors like - Boeing and Airbus. There are other advantageous factors like central location of place and good number of educational institutes," said Reddy.

A listed company, Infotech, employs around 4,000 people.

MADC's vice-chairman and managing director R C Sinha said that around 12 fresh IT companies have evinced interest in having a plot in the SEZ. Of these, the big names include - TCS and HCL. Around 10 small companies have also approached for small plots of land.

However, they have been advised to join hands and float a separate company to jointly get land in the SEZ, said Sinha.

US-based Satellier LLC, which provides service to the construction industry, is also keen on Nagpur.

The company considers Nagpur as a "secondary city" ranking it just next to the metros and other big cities. There are plans to have a new unit in India within the next one year and the SEZ here is one of the options, said Satellier's CEO, Michael Jansen. Satellier presently has a unit in Delhi.
BS Reporter in Mumbai
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