Tuesday, May 11, 2004

More infra projects on the back burner

A report from the Times of India reproduced:

Work still to commence on Biotech Park; plot yet to be identified for Hardware Park

Bangalore: Two of Bangalore’s high-profile projects, the hardware park and the biotechnology park, seem to be in a limbo. The state government has acquired 75 acres of land near Electronic City for setting up the biotech park, but work is yet to commence there, and the land for the hardware park is yet to be identified.

Though January 1 was the deadline for commencing work on the hardware park, the project hasn’t taken off. Officials say the task force set up for the purpose could not meet during the last two months due to elections.

The Hardware Task Force on its part has identified land in five different locations on the outskirts of Bangalore. The entire blue-print and logistics plans are drawn out though. “However, we are yet to decide on a piece of land which would be over 1,000 acres,” IT&BT Minister D.B. Inamdar said.

The project cost is pretty steep. According to Feedback Strategic, a Delhibased market research firm which conducted the due diligence, the project requires an investment of Rs 750 crore. Meanwhile, the Biotech Park is slated to cost Rs 100 crore. Under the budgetary provision, IT&BT department is allowed to borrow Rs 300 crore from agencies like HUDCO towards infrastructure development. The investment for the Biotech Park will come from this allotted fund. However, the sources of funds for the Hardware Park are not clear yet. “It’s too early now to give details about the source of funds for the Hardware Park. Getting funds may not be difficult. Right now we are talking to various companies to come and invest in the park,” Inamdar said.

From the day the construction starts, the Biotech Park is scheduled to be ready in 12-14 months. Institutions, such as the Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology (IBAB) and the Centre for Human Genetics, are expected to be slotted into the park. There is no such deadline in sight for the Hardware Park. Meanwhile, the Karnataka Hardware Consortium and the Penang Electronic Consortium have signed a MoU to jointly develop hardware products for the global market. The question is whether the project will be completed before tectonic changes shift priorities globally. Officials exude confidence that the projects would gain good speed once the elections are over. But the catch lies in the last salvo by Inamdar: “The state and Centre need to take various policy decisions regarding export\import, taxation and excise issues.”

Park view

C . Narayanaswamy ( secretary general , ( JD - S ) : We are not opposed to setting up technology parks for the development of the industry. But, it should not be at the cost of farmers.

S . Suresh Kumar ( BJP spokesperson ) : The idea of biotech park and hardware park won’t be given up. We will rather nurture these projects to build a stronger and prosperous Karnataka.

D . B . Inamdar ( IT & BT minister ) : Work on both the projects would gain speed once the new government is in place. The state and central governments need to take various policy decisions regarding export\import, taxation and excise issues.


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