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October 4, 1999
When Goa says 'me to', it never sounds the same. Here's the proof: 'IT Habitat'. That, of course, is yet another technology park on the lines of the Software Technology Parks of India.
What is significant is that the IT Habitat is the largest information technology initiative taken by the Goa government.
The National Association of Software and Service Companies has already identified 70 acres for the project near the Goa University on the Bambolim Plateau, adjacent to Dona Paula.
However, only 45 acres of this site would be actually utilised for the Habitat.
The Habitat is to be built and managed through a joint venture. The Goa government's stake in the joint venture will be 26 per cent and remaining 74 per cent is expected to come in from internationally renowned private companies.
The joint venture partner is expected to draft a bankable report, detailing the feasibility of the project. The partner would also have to prepare the architectural design and layout of the Habitat besides bringing in equity participation, organising financial resources and executing the marketing plan.
The Rs 1.22 billion cost estimate includes the price of the land, the Earth station, networking, construction and other infrastructure.
The actual habitat building is to cover only 20 acres. Almost 22.5 acres has been marked out for green area and roads.
The remaining 25 acres would be retained by the Electronic Corporation of Goa Limited, which would be holding equity on behalf of the state. The ECGL will develop industrial plots on 14 acres and build a 'smart school' on 5 acres to train Goan software professionals.
The ECGL's project is to cost Rs 113 million. The venture is expected to earn by selling plots at the rate of Rs 8 million per acre. The company will also earn an annual income by charging for the maintenance of the plots at the rate of Rs 100 per square metre.
The Habitat, on the other hand, would sell its built-up space of 50,000 square metres in two categories, earning around Rs 1.45 billion.
The 'plug and play' space of 10,000 square metres would be sold for Rs 45,000 per square metre. The Deluxe module of 40,000 square metres should sell at Rs 25,000 per square metre.
NASSCOM estimates another Rs 142 million annual income from the Habitat. This is to come from rent for the built-up space, maintenance charges and associated revenue.
Besides all the technology infrastructure like high-speed connectivity, the Habitat would provide recreation facilities like a club and a gymnasium.
Goa Chief Minister Luizinho Faleiro told reporters recently: "It is my dream come true. This will create a Silicon Valley like environment in Goa."
During his brief tenure as chief minister in February, Faleiro had formed a separate department of information technology and chalked out a detailed plan for developing the information technology industry in the tourist state.
Realising its potential, Governor Lieutenant General (Retd) J F R Jacob had followed up the plan during President's rule.
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