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Impressive show by emerging IT States

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE, NOV. 4. For the emerging IT States, "these are times not of stagnation, but of ferment". They may have started late, but "they are all doing something proactive" as one official put it, at the IT Trade show, IT.Com here.

In response, Infosys, Wipro and others have either already established their presence or are seriously looking to do so in Chandigarh Union Territory, Kochi (Kerala) and Kolkata (West Bengal).

Despite starting only in the year 2000 Chandigarh has 45 STP registered IT companies, employing about 3000 people. Infosys is building its own 20-acre campus there.

The company has 150 people in a rented space in Mohali, but will move into its campus next year. By July 2004, Infosys will have capacity for 600 professionals, and in five years, wants to ramp up to 2400, says Vivek Atray, Chandigarh's Director IT. Others who are interested include Dell, Convergys, e-Sys, a Singapore based low cost computer maker, and perhaps Wipro Spectramind.

By 2005, Chandigarh will have its own technology park, being developed by DLF, a developer with large interests in Delhi as well. The 111-acre, Rs. 500 crore park will take 25,000 people, says Mr. Atray.

The Union Territory is doing two other things for IT: an incubation facility which already has 15 companies; and a State funded Rs. 10 crore, 70,000 sq. ft. Entrepreneurship Development Centre in which small and medium IT companies can take up to 5000 sq. ft. each.

Urban Chandigarh has decided to look to biotechnology as well.

The administration will "soon sign a memorandum of understanding" with a CSIR lab, the Institute of Microbial Technology, to set up a biotech incubation facility. The facility will include a P3 lab, a common facility with sophisticated instruments and powerful computers.

Rural Kerala goes wi-fi

In Kerala, the Government has set up what it claims to be the largest rural broadband wi-fi network, in Mallappuram district. As part of a 100 per cent e-literacy project called Akshaya, the implementation will commence with 600 Akshaya centres getting intranet connectivity with access to broadband Internet 24x7. The Malappuram model is to be rolled out across Kerala in two years, Aruna Sundararajan, the State's articulate IT Secretary, told reporters here on Tuesday.

Kunhalikutty, Kerala's IT and Industries Minister, hopes that Akshaya will kindle a socio-economic revolution in the state.

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