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Keep developing infrastructure to sustain IT growth: Premji

Our Bureau

Kolkata , Nov. 19

MR Azim Premji, Chairman of Wipro Ltd, has emphasised the need for continued investment in infrastructure in West Bengal to ensure sustained growth in the IT sector in the State. This would be especially important if the State were to achieve its target of contributing to 15 per cent of the country's revenue from software exports by 2010.

Speaking in the presence of the West Bengal Chief Minister, Mr Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, at a function held here today to mark the inauguration of Wipro's Kolkata Development Centre, Mr Premji said it would be imperative to scale up infrastructure in the State proactively to meet the growing demand from IT companies.

"Don't fall back on investment in infrastructure as some States in the South have. Don't rest on your laurels. Back it up by more aggressive action," he said.

Along with investment in infrastructure, it would also be necessary to facilitate connectivity between the city and places in the US, such as New York City. "International flights to and from the city are crucial to all businesses that have global overtones," Mr Premji said.

He described West Bengal as a "citadel of knowledge" which has a huge talent pool that was well equipped to meet the global challenges faced by the IT industry.

Wipro, he said, was "pleased" to set up operations here and the company has been "clearly attracted by the enthusiasm the State Government has demonstrated in creating a facilitative environment for us". Mr Premji complimented the State Government for creating an enabling environment, whereby, the IT sector in the State has recorded a compounded annual growth rate of 88 per cent between 1996 and 2003.

He said it did not matter whether the Government of the day was Left or Right-aligned. Any policy which helps to create jobs has to be politically correct, he said.

Responding to Mr Premji in his inaugural address, Mr Bhattacharya dwelt at length on the IT infrastructure projects that were in various stages of implementation.

He made special mention of the Sunrise City and the IT Park and the IT Township at Rajarhat New Town.

To meet the growing demand for human capital, the number of engineering colleges in the State has gone up to 67 from just nine a few years ago.

Mr Bhattacharjee urged Wipro to set up a centre of excellence in the city and assured all help of the Government should Wipro wish to set up another development centre in West Bengal.

Wipro's Kolkata Development Centre is spread over 16 acres of land in the Salt Lake Electronics Complex here and envisages a total investment of Rs 200 crore in a phased manner.

Currently, around 1,000 professionals are engaged in the Wipro complex here, which also houses a business process outsourcing outfit.

The headcount at the Wipro facility here will gradually be ramped up to 7,000 professionals in the future, according to senior company officials.

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