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Mysore loses to Mangalore in IT race

By Laiqh A. Khan

MYSORE, NOV. 8. Though Mysore managed to attract information technology major Wipro to set up its new software development facility and clinch a few multi-million dollar deals during the recently held BangaloreIT.Com, the city appears to have lost out to Mangalore in the race to lure a $ 6.2 billion U.S. multinational.

The Director of Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), B.V. Naidu, told The Hindu that the First American Operations, which initially toyed with the idea of setting up its software development and call centre operations in Mysore, eventually plumped for Mangalore.

Asked for the reasons behind the U.S. multinational preferring the coastal city to Mysore, which is only 140 km from Bangalore, Mr. Naidu said he was unaware of the factors behind the decision of multinational.

First Indian Corporation, the Indian subsidiary of First American Operations, was already operating in Bangalore. "Probably, they found Mysore too close to Bangalore geographically and wanted their operations to be spread across the State," Mr. Naidu said.

The STPI Director recalled the optimism he had displayed during his last visit to Mysore when he said that a large multinational company was on its way to Mysore.

"Unfortunately, they chose to go to Mangalore," Mr. Naidu said.

First American Operations is looking for 10 acres in Mangalore to launch its operations.

However, Wipro would set up its facility for software development on a 100-acre area in Mysore.

"In addition, an Australian firm is close to tying up with Mysore-based firms to develop an education software," Mr. Naidu said.

It has been learnt that a Mysore-based BPO company, situated at Hebbal on the outskirts of the city, had bagged a deal worth $ 2 million.

Recruitment

Though the investment and size of the workforce for Wipro's Mysore facility is unclear, experts in the IT industry said the company might recruit about 1,000 people in the first phase.

With Infosys, Larsen and Toubro, and Software Paradigms India too planning to go in for large-scale recruitment, IT observers do not rule out the possibility of IT professionals in the city doubling from 7,000 to almost 15,000 in the next three years.

The chief of Comat Infoscribe, Narendra, who participated in the BangaloreIT.Com, said that the event sent out a clear message that Mysore could become a "natural" destination for IT after Bangalore.

`Best bet'

The growth of IT industry in Mysore would lend vibrancy to the city. Several IT industries in Bangalore were facing infrastructure bottlenecks and Mysore had emerged the next best bet for their expansion plans, he said.

"Most of them are waiting for the work on the four-lane highway between the two cities to be completed," he said.

Work on the highway is expected to take at least a year to complete.

It is understood that the Government is actively selling secondary cities such as Mysore and Mangalore as alternative IT destinations after several companies showed signs of shifting to other States in view of infrastructure inadequacies in Bangalore.

The Additional Director of STPI, Mahesh, who is looking after STPI operations here, said Mysore was accorded top priority by the Government among the secondary cities.

"After Bangalore, Mysore is our next best bet," he said. Mysore had 30 companies registered with the STPI.

Having exported software worth Rs. 180 crores last year, software firms in the city were poised to breach the Rs. 360-crore mark in exports this year, he said.

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