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Late-starter Punjab now wants to ride IT bandwagon (Lead, superseding earlier story)

National,Sci-Tech, Thu, 13 Nov 2008 IANS

Chandigarh, Nov 13 (IANS) Punjab, the harbinger of the green revolution in agriculture, has realised it is better late than never as it seeks to make a mark now in the information technology (IT) sector.


Punjab Infotech, the state's information and communication technology corporation, has made a 90-day action plan to offer incentives to IT companies to set up shop in the state.



On offer is nearly 800 acres of land in Ropar district, 50 km from Chandigarh, and another 250 acres near Kapurthala town, 40 km from Jalandhar, for setting up IT units.



'The land is already available with the government and no acquisition is required. Some companies have shown interest in coming here,' Punjab Infotech's managing director Rakesh K. Verma told IANS here.



Punjab's Industry Minister Manoranjan Kalia recently participated in the BangaloreIT.Biz to seek investment from IT companies in Punjab. He and senior IT department officials from Punjab met top IT managers in Bangalore and Hyderabad.



'I was the first minister from Punjab to attend the IT conference. IT investors coming to Punjab will be offered a place of their choice in the Ropar and Kapurthala belts. We know we have started late but I am hopeful that we will be able to break the ice and get IT investment,' Kalia said here.



Kalia says Punjab is ready to address concerns of high land prices and erratic power supply.



'I had a meeting with the chief minister (Parkash Singh Badal) and we have decided that whatever it takes, we will ensure uninterrupted power to the IT industry. We will charge the industrial rate from the IT industry and no extra charges above that. We are working out special incentives for them,' Kalia said.



'We have nearly 30,000 IT graduates passing out from Punjab every year. The IT industry coming here will have no dearth of talent,' the minister said.



Kalia said there was no move in Punjab to have any reservation clause for IT companies coming here to recruit some percentage of students from the state itself.



Major investments in Punjab in the IT sector so far are in form of multi-nationals Quark and Dell. Both are located in Mohali town, 15 km from here. Dell has a call centre here.



Punjab, once one of the most prosperous states in the country, has lagged behind in industrial and IT investment after it went through a period of terrorism from 1982 to 1995.



'We know we are late-starters in the IT sector. We are entering it when others are exiting,' said Punjab principal secretary-IT S.S. Channy.


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