BANGALORE: With West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee toughening her stand on not granting SEZ status to the proposed Infosys facility in the state, the IT major may have to think in terms of developing alternative centres like Bhubaneswar, the company’s executive co-chairman Kris Gopalakrishnan said.
“I am not saying that we want to pull out. We have not reached any decision on it yet, but we will have no option, but to relocate our resources elsewhere if the project does not go through,” Kris told FE.
“We have paid the entire amount for the land. Infosys has a history of completing any project to which we have committed. We want to go ahead in Bengal, but we need support,” Kris added. The West Bengal government, however, had made its stance clear saying that the SEZ status would not be granted to the company by distorting the land policy of the state.
“After all, industry requires land. We create jobs for people. Wherever we have acquired land, we have ensured that facilities come up there. We do not acquire land and not develop it,” the Infosys co-founder remarked.
But the state government seems to have made up its mind on the matter. “We are creating land banks. We will not do any such thing which goes against the people and the farmers. I want Infosys to come here. But tell me when we have a policy not to set up SEZs, then how can we change the rules for Infosys?” Mamata Banerjee asked recently. “I cannot discriminate,” she has said.
The state government had said recently that it owns 3 lakh acres of land and that part of it could be used for industrial purposes. The other claim was that it had attracted over R65,000 core investments in recent times, which could generate nearly one lakh jobs. But there are few takers for these claims.
But how crucial is the Bengal facility to Infosys. “It’s not a matter of crucial or not. We want to honour our commitment,” said Kris.
In the last few months, Infosys has been on an investment spree domestically. It has signed a MoU with the Madhya Pradesh government for investing R600 crore in its proposed facility in Indore, aimed at generating 13,000 jobs. MP government had allotted 130 acres to Infosys on a 33-year lease. It is also developing a software centre in Nagpur, with an investment of R200 crore. Maharashtra has provided 142 acres for the purpose. The facility will be designed to provide jobs to 2,000 engineers over five years.
As on December 31, 2011, Infosys had 64 offices and 68 development centres in India and abroad, and over 1.45 lakh employees.