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Land prices hit Coimbatore's future

M. Soundariya Preetha

COIMBATORE: Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu (ELCOT) plans to establish an information technology park here on 29 acres. Foundation has been laid for a Tidel Park on the site and works have commenced.

It plans to expand this project further and is in the process of getting 26 acres more, adjacent to the site. Faced with overwhelming demand for land from IT companies, the Corporation has started looking for larger areas to develop more IT parks here.

For over six months, it is trying to identify at least 250 acres. Since the ELCOT is looking at developing social infrastructure too at the parks along with space allocation to the IT companies, it needs a minimum of 100 to 200 acres for a park. However, the spiralling land prices here are a matter of concern to the ELCOT now.

Coimbatore does not have huge chunks of Government land suitable for IT parks to take over or develop. In the case of private lands, sky-rocketing prices put Coimbatore at a disadvantage, says an ELCOT official.

"Since it is difficult to progress with such rates, we are now looking at development of only the 55 acres," the official says.

The Corporation plans IT parks in about 260 acres in Madurai and the entire space has been booked. In Tiruchi it originally proposed an IT park on 135 acres. Since the demand has shot up, it now plans to expand on another 100 acres. In these places availability of Government or Government-controlled land has helped, he adds. "Madurai and Tiruchi are certainly taking off with added advantages such as international air connectivity," he says.

In Madurai land will be allotted in one park to the IT companies to develop their own campus with housing facilities too. It will also earmark land for a school. Tidel Parks are proposed in Salem, Tirunelveli and Hosur too. In all these centres, 100 acres of land form the minimum for a park, he points out. In Coimbatore the Corporation is open to joint venture proposals too. However, the "artificial prices" have made the going tough and the IT companies will look at other centres if this continues, he says.

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