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West Bengal theme-based townships to receive IT boost.

Date: 16-10-2015
Subject: West Bengal theme-based townships to receive IT boost
BENGALURU: The Mamata Banerjee government's plans for six theme-based greenfield townships received a welcome boost as finance and industries minister Amit Mitra met technology biggies at the IT capital of India and chalked out a formula to bring in a synergy with smarter solutions for the developers.

"Town-makers and developers want smarter solutions to their big projects, while IT majors wish to get involved with the new townships. We, the government, would tell them to work together and create real smart and thematic townships—futuristic cities with sustainable solutions," the minister told TOI on the sidelines of Bengal New Township Initiative, organised by The Economic Times.

Mitra on Tuesday met tech honchos of 24 companies, such as Cisco, HP, PwC, Accenture and 3M, at the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangalore. Cisco is claimed to have evinced interest in investing in e-schooling, e-health and street lighting in the theme-based township projects.

The six townships, Agnibina, Sports City, Teesta, Uttam City, Gitabitan and Samriddhi, will be put on the block through e-auction and global tendering process.

A consortium of developers from the UK, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and some private equity players firms are interested in investing in intelligent and low-cost housing. "Almost all will go to Global Bengal Summit," Mitra said. The developers' consortium, represented by S Yasir Rizvi of Canopy and Ricardo Gontijo of Directional, told TOI they would hold a recce during the Summit.

Mitra claimed 250-odd entrepreneurs attended the meetings on Tuesday. He said 70 Karnataka firms and others will discuss investing in Bengal in the next few months and at the summit. But he didn't comment on Infosys SEZ.

"Building townships are long-term projects and coming up with smart cities on existing towns isn't easy. We can't do it alone," said Debashis Sen, prinicipal secretary, urban development department.

Sen told TOI: "I am optimistic that a good percentage of today's audience would bid for the townships. They said the financial clause is lucrative. Ready land, quick approval and flexibility are doing the trick for us."

M Murli, MD of the Shriram Properties, which is building Shriram Grand City in Uttarpara, said, "We started our project in Bengal without spending a penny."

Promoting the "ease of doing business in Bengal", Mitra allayed fears on lack of land and legal rows. WBIDC's Krishna Gupta said, "No need to worry about disputes when the state is providing infrastructure-ready land." "Bengal's perception is frozen in time as east is not the last option of corporates and developers," said Sunil Nair, head (marketing), Bengal Aerotropolis Projects.

Source : timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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