Infosys to start work for its IT hub in Kolkata in July 2021: West Bengal CM – ET RealEstate

KOLKATA: IT giant Infosys would commence work at Rajarhat New Town from July 2021 for its maiden project in the state and will complete it in two years, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said on Tuesday.

“I had sent them a letter about the project and Infosys has replied. It will get final approval for the project this month only,” Banerjee said, adding that Wipro, too, has committed to invest for a second campus in the state.

At the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the Bengal Silicon Valley Hub by the chief minister on August 13, 2018, Infosys had officially announced the commencement of work on its new software development centre in Kolkata, but it did not disclose any date. The IT bellwether had an initial plan of Rs 100 crore investment in the 5,25,000-sq ft New Town hub with the creation of around 1,000 engineering jobs.

Both Wipro and Infosys have been offered the ‘free-hold’ status for the land parcel in Rajarhat. The IT duo was given 50 acres each in New Town.

Besides these two mega projects, Banerjee added that cabinet has approved an additional 100 acres for Silicon Hub in the second phase. “Now, there are 100 acres for the state silicon hub already and the major part of the land parcel has already been booked. We have got 20 more applications for land in the hub,” she said while chairing a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Last year, the CM had announced that IT heavyweight Wipro was all set to begin work for its second campus in the state following Infosys’s 2017 decision to invest here. Wipro’s total investment for its 10,000-employee-strong new campus was pegged at Rs 500 crore.

Wipro, unlike Infosys, had set up its first campus in Salt Lake Sector V in 2005-06 during the Left Front regime. Both Infosys and Wipro have been sitting on their allotted plots in Rajarhat-New Town for around a decade, for which they had paid Rs 75 crore each. The state cabinet had allowed the IT giants to use 49% of the plot for whatever purpose it deemed fit after using the remaining 51% for its core IT operations. The sop was the biggest till date given to an IT-sector investor in Bengal.

In response to the demand for an SEZ tag for their Rajarhat land, the Bengal CM had been categorically telling IT bigwigs that her government would offer “everything else but an SEZ status” to any industrial unit interested in Bengal.

“The company got the land on November 18, 2011, for IT-related work on 75% of the land on 99 years’ renewable lease,” state higher education minister Partha Chatterjee had said in 2017.

Salil Parekh, CEO and MD, Infosys, had said: “I would like to thank CM Mamata Banerjee for giving Infosys a unique opportunity to be a part of this prestigious project, and further strengthen our presence across the country.”

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West Bengal government grants land rights to refugee families – ET RealEstate

KOLKATA: With an eye on refugee votes in the state in the 2021 assembly polls, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday granted land rights to 25,000 refugee families and said a total of 1.25 lakh families would be given land rights. The land deed will be without any conditions, Banerjee, who had made the announcement on this a year ago, said.

Banerjee also allotted Rs 10 crore and Rs 5 crore grant for the Matua Development Board and Namashudra Development Board respectively.

“Today, we are giving 25,000 land right documents to the refugees. A total of 1.25 lakh refugee families would be given land rights in the days to come,” she said at a programme at the secretariat.

“This land right document will act as proof that you (the recipients) are a citizen of this country. No one can take away your citizenship,” she said.

The government, Banerjee said, has been continuously working for the development of the Matua and the Namashudra communities in the state.

The chief minister was interacting with representatives of different communities, folk and traditional artistes where she formally started handing over pattas to the refugees, many of them representing backward communities.

This patta is “nisartho dalil” (land deed without any conditions), Banerjee said adding she had been working for the land deed of refugees since the late 1980s when she was the Congress MP from Jadavpur.

She took a dig at the BJP and said those who are not aware of the ground realities in the state only tour it before elections and try to befool the people, including those from backward communities, with false promises.

“Suddenly they (BJP) have woken up to the issue of Matuas. They make tall promises before votes. Do they know for how long we had been working for these people?” Banerjee said.

“We are allotting Rs 10 crore and Rs five crore for the Matua development board and Namashudra Development Board. We will also allot funds for Bagdi, Mahji and Dule communities,” she said.

There are over 30 lakh members of the Bagdi, Majhi and Dule communities in state, she added.

The development came just ahead of Union Home Minister and top BJP leader Amit Shah’s two-day visit to the state.

The BJP has been trying hard to woo the refugee vote bank of the state.

Banerjee said the state will ensure that scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, other backward castes will get their caste certificates within two weeks after applying if there is a certificate from the father’s or mother’s side confirming they belong to the caste.

“This will help them get the caste certificate at the earliest which earlier required a long process formulated by the Centre which involved producing documents dating back to the 1950s,” she said.

She announced bringing handloom workers, chhau dancers, dokra artisans and others under Swasthya Sathi health scheme which will allow them to get free medical treatment in government hospitals and few other hospitals outside state.

To a proposal by a representative of the Kirtaniya community in the state, who sing devotional folk Bengali songs, she said an academy for research on the 800-year-old old history of the kirtana gharana will be set up named after the Bengali poet Baru Chandidas.

Banerjee said a development centre will come up in Purulia to preserve and promote the culture of other heritage Bengali folk traditions like Chhau dance and to help the distressed dancers affected by the pandemic.

The chief minister said the state government will assess the possibility of holding various handicraft fairs, which are held in December every year, this time too adhering to the COVID-19 safety protocol so that the artisans in the districts, hit by the pandemic, can sell their products.

“We will take a call on this issue after Kalipuja,” she added.

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Cabinet approves revised cost for Kolkata East-West metro corridor project – ET RealEstate

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved revised cost for Kolkata East West Metro Corridor Project for Kolkata city and surrounding urban areas, Union minister Piyush Goyal said.

Estimated completion cost of the project is Rs 8,575 crore and the target date of completion is December, 2021.

The project envisages construction of a metro corridor between Salt Lake Sector-V to Howrah Maidan in West Bengal for a total route length of 16.6 km, Goyal said while briefing reporters on the Cabinet decision.

According to an official statement, the project will reduce commuting time and fuel consumption, reduce capex on road infrastructure and ease traffic in Kolkata.

The project is being implemented by Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRCL) which is a central public sector enterprise under the Ministry of Railways set up as a special purpose vehicle.

The pre-pandemic target for completion of their project was December, 2021.

The project includes immense technological challenges like tunnel below river Ganga which is the first transportation tunnel in India under any major river as well as Howrah station which is one of the deepest Metro stations in India.

The mega project envisions creation of an efficient transit connectivity between business district of Kolkata with industrial city of Howrah in west and Salt Lake City in east through a safe, accessible and comfortable mode of public transport.

Since this corridor connects three most important parts of the Kolkata Metropolitan area — Howrah, business area of Kolkata and new settlements in Salt Lake — and is expected it is going to revolutionise the mass rapid transport in Kolkata and adjoining Howrah and Bidhanangar.

This will connect important landmarks like Howrah, Sealdah, Esplanade and Salt Lake Sector-V which is an IT hub.

It will integrate multiple modes of transport like the Metro, Sub-urban Railways, ferry and bus transport by constructing interchange hubs. This will ensure smooth and seamless mode of transport to lakhs of daily commuters.

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Kolkata: Tenants make beeline out of New Town, flat-owners feel the pandemic pinch – ET RealEstate

KOLKATA: The pandemic has triggered an exodus from New Town, the fledgling township to Kolkata’s east, as young professionals, expats and students have returned home, leaving behind vacant apartments and horrified landlords.

Several sprawling complexes — which were largely occupied by people from other states working in the IT companies in Sector V and New Town — lie half-deserted as tenants have returned to their hometowns, with many of them either laid off or instructed to work from home for the rest of this year and the beginning of 2021. Even professional institutes have shifted to online classes, making it unnecessary for students to stay in New Town.

While there is no survey or data available on the extent of the impact of the pandemic on real estate yet, conversations with resident welfare associations do not paint a very encouraging picture.

Shukhobrishti in Action Area III, with over 1,500 ready apartments, has always been a preferred choice for those wanting to rent an apartment in New Town, due to availability and affordability. It also spawned an ecosystem of its own, with bus and toto routes connecting the township with several IT clusters in New Town and Sector V.

“Of all the apartments in the township on rent to young professionals from the IT sector and students, almost 50% are empty, as many of them have left for their hometowns in Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand and the northeast,” said Mainak Kanrar, joint secretary of the association. “Many students who usually rent apartments in a group, have also left.” The scene is similar at other housing complexes like NBCC Vibgyor, DLF Heights, Rameshwara Waterview, where several tenants have left.
Kolkata: Tenants make beeline out of New Town, flat-owners feel the pandemic pinchOver the last few years, New Town has emerged as a favoured destination for young professionals and students who work in IT companies in the township or study in one of the several professional institutes. Decent infrastructure, sprawling malls, an under-construction Metro network and green neighbourhoods have also att-racted several families.

The current situation of lesser demand — and the consequent sudden supply surge — has driven down rental costs across the city and forced landlords to offer generous concessions, such as rent reduction and sharing of maintenance costs. Iman Gazi, a property broker in New Town-Rajarhat, said the inventory of apartments would most likely increase in the next few months as several tenants, struggling financially, have decided not to renew their rent agreements.

“Earlier, the rent for a 2-BHK apartment in the heart of the township was anything between Rs 14,000 and Rs 16,000. Today, the landlords are willing to accept 20% to 25% lower rent, but are finding no takers,” said Gazi.

This exodus has also started showing its impact on the local economy. Food vendors outside IT offices and residential complexes mostly sit idle and totos and buses on these routes don’t have enough passengers. Local bars, retail stores and even malls have reported depressing sales.

“It has also dealt a huge blow to the local economy, with so many people leaving. Many people who worked as domestic helps, other service providers, local eateries, malls and public transport are bound to feel the impact,” said Samir Gupta, joint convener of the New Town Residents’ Welfare Forum.

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