Friday, March 30, 2007

Another dimension to the IT city

Another dimension to the IT city
These belts, dedicated to specific sectors, will add another economic dimension to the city’s development
The Times of India

Even as Bangalore changes gears to wear the Greater look, new concepts and dimensions promise to create fresh facets of growth and development. One such concept is the 'corridor' that came into existence almost by default as the IT industry concentrated in the axis from ITPL at Whitefield to Sarjapur Road and Hosur Road. The IT corridor came into being and heralded a new thrust in related development. The making of the corridor saw far-reaching effect on realty with prices touching new highs almost racing with the glass facades springing up, to redefine the city's status as a global destination.
A corridor in effect is an opportunity area - for job seekers, entrepreneurs looking at the new emerging markets, corporates and property investors. It holds opportunities for all who can find leverage in the sector. From restaurateurs to retailers, the pie is big enough to fuel an entire section of the city's teeming millions. Following the success of the IT corridor and its draw globally, civic agencies and planners have found new concepts to give Bangalore another edge - knowledge corridors and integrated townships. This time the corridors will happen not by default, but by design.
"A knowledge corridor means all you need for sustainable development. It includes civic and social infrastructure. It will have office spaces, hospitals, schools - all that you need to acquire and experience knowledge. The Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) will integrate all these elements", says Ashok Kheny, Managing Director, Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise.
The concept of knowledge corridor is attractive to both entrepreneurs and residents alike as it offers opportunities to both. This project will have five integrated townships. In addition a state-of-the-art convention center and film studio will spell economic opportunity. The film studio, spread over 300 acres will create employment opportunities for around 10,000 people. It will mean economic development as it has the potential to churn out 300 movies a year and provide studio and back-end technical support to production houses abroad. This will translate to related segments finding potential in the region. "The entire belt will offer employment to a million people", says Kheny. It is this aspect of the BMIC that holds the prospects of the city changing another economic gear.
The State's IT Secretary, M N Vidyashankar describes a knowledge corridor as "plug, play, learn and live" concept. "We have a 10 acre corridor dedicated to IT being developed near Bidadi. Here it is mandatory for those buying office space to also have residential options. This way, it would mean integrated development. It will help ease traffic congestion in the city", Vidyashankar explains.
These corridors mean opportunities for real estate investors. Apart from plug and play facilities they involve housing and retail spaces. With real estate mutual funds and increasing investments in the property sector, the developer community will see more demand and potential for novel concepts here. The walk to work concept, for example, can be a reality in these corridors where planned and integrated development is aimed at decongestion and environment-friendly localities.
"The Bidadi corridor is around half an hour from the city. We are also planning four more corridors at Nelamangala, Kanakapura, Harohalli and Hoskote, surrounding the city. These will have around 50,000 acres for development. The sectors we will open these corridors to will depend on the demand", says Vidyashankar. Such localities bring some respite to a city such as Bangalore as they offer large parcels of land in close proximity. This translates to lesser number of vehicles on the city's roads in spite of an increasing number of people living in it.
"Development such as the film center also holds indirect economic opportunity in tourism, catering and services", adds Kheny. A corridor dedicated to one sector entails concentration of players from that industry and related segments coming together on a single geographic platform. It will make it easier for civic agencies to bring the sort of infrastructure support that the sector needs more effectively to them for the growth and development of business. The business opportunities thrown open consequently make the city an economic hub.
Knowledge corridors could be the next gear Bangalore changes to speed up its way to being a preferred global destination.


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