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June 26, 1997


Bhubaneswar Software Technology Park goes wooing

Following Intelsat connectivity of the earth station at Bhubaneswar, the Software Technology Park there is hopeful of attracting at least 40 companies to its fold by end of March 1998. At present, 16 companies are operating at the park.

According to Manas Patnaik, director of Bhubaneswar STP, testing of the earth station's satellite link is currently in progress and connectivity has already been obtained till the Netherlands.

"Within the next one week we shall ensure connectivity till New York when the work shall be complete," Patnaik assured.

The earth station's satellite connectivity is expected to go a long way in providing a fillip to software companies operating from Bhubaneswar. Till date, companies operating from there are required to export the software either "physically or through Calcutta". Commissioning of the earth station will also help in garnering revenue for the STP there.

Already, several software companies have sought to have a presence in the STP. This includes some well-known Bangalore-based outfit too. Infosys and Satyam already have a presence at Bhubaneshwar.

The electronics and software segment having emerged as a major focus areas for the state government, efforts are on to rope in as many such companies as possible. The industrial policy of the state offers liberal incentives to software companies who wish to set up operations there.

In fact, attracting software companies to Orissa is among the prime objectives of the official business delegation to the US being led by the Chief Minister J B Patnaik.

Among the major US companies, Microsoft is understood to have evinced interest in Orissa. World Geo Science, a Germany-based software company, has already set up shop here.

Outlining the advantages of the STP at Bhubaneswar, Mr Patnaik said the main factor was that the State had surplus power. "The infrastructure here is good. Communication will be faster because of less traffic, Bhubaneswar is a clean city with a cosmopolitan culture. The social infrastructure as well as air links with other parts of the country are well developed, too. Besides money, these aspects are very important for software professionals. As such, this city offers scope for professional growth combined with good living conditions."

The government, for its part, has earmarked 317 acres of land in the heart of the city exclusively for software companies. The land is being made available at a concessional rate of Rs 500,000 an acre against the market price of Rs 5 million an acre. A 50,000 square-foot building has also been taken up to house software companies.

Other incentives include tax exemptions on various scores and liberal travel assistance in respect of tours undertaken for marketing software overseas.

At present 16 companies operate from the STP Complex there. They are having to pay concessional rent at Rs 10 per square foot, which includes extra facilities such as telephone lines, computer rooms, uninterrupted power supply and access to the STP library.

With the incentives offered, the director is optimistic of a total of 40 companies operating from the STP there by the end of the current fiscal. Software exports from the STP, on a conservative estimate, are expected to cross the Rs 2 billion-mark by the turn of the century.

To cater to the anticipated demand for manpower by the local software industry, seven private engineering colleges are already in operation in Bhubaneswar and are engaged in turning out computer professionals.

Patnaik said 10 more companies have requested allotment of space at the STP on an urgent basis. "Most of these companies wish to capitalise on the Y2K problem. Especially as data communication has emerged as a major bottleneck in tackling the problem.

- Compiled from the Indian media

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