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Wipro plans to convert Kolkata unit into SEZ

October 05, 2004 11:06 IST

Wipro is planning to convert its facility in Kolkata into a special economic zone. The company has taken up the issue with the state government and Union ministry of commerce.

Jayant Dasgupta, joint secretary, ministry of commerce and industry, said the department had received indication from the government of West Bengal that Wipro would want to convert its facility in Kolkata into an SEZ.

"The ministry of commerce is awaiting the recommendation from the government of West Bengal. After we receive it, we will work on this," he said.

Wipro sources confirmed that the company was exploring the possibility and was in the process of discussing the issue. Wipro started operating out of its Kolkata campus last month.

The company has recruited 400 people till now and has plans to recruit another 600 in the next six months for business process outsourcing and software development at Wipro Spectramind and Wipro Technologies, respectively.

Wipro is eyeing its third phase of expansion. The company has expressed interest in taking up 40-50 acre of land at Rajarhat in Kolkata.

State IT secretary G D Gautama said that the proposed SEZ by Wipro would come up in the existing facility at Salt Lake. He said the company had discussed the issue with the state IT department.

The Wipro SEZ would be the first IT SEZ, if it materialises. So far IT companies were taking advantage of the software technology parks of India route.

However, Gautama pointed out that the benefits under the SEZ scheme would be more than the STPI, especially on the taxation front.

The move to make Wipro a SEZ stemmed from the provisions of the new SEZ Bill, which envisages that any single unit was entitled to attain the status of a SEZ.

A SEZ can be developed by the state government or even by private parties. They could be product specific (in this case information technology) or multi product.

Infosys Technologies has procured a 129-acre land within Mahindra City in Chennai, which has been approved by the ministry of commerce as SEZ.

The SEZ status provides units located here multiple fiscal and operational benefits. The Union government offers a 100 per cent tax holiday for the first five years and a 50 per cent tax holiday for a subsequent block of five years to units located in a SEZ.

SEZ is a deemed foreign territory within the country and offers a hassle-free operating environment to companies located there.

Ishita Ayan Dutt & Sambit Saha in Kolkata