Press release by Information Technology Department,
Government of West Bengal
(Enclosure to 15(50)- JS(SB)/IT(O)/91/2007 dated 07.09.09)
all of us came across several conflicting news items about
Kolkata Link IT township. Though IT Department do not like to comment
on each and every news item, we believe that all these created a lot of
confusions among the people, specially the actual stakeholders of this
project including several IT companies and thousands of young aspirants
who want to be employed in their own state after their studies.
To clear the confusion and to avoid any further confounding, IT
department decided to provide the necessary information about this
project in written form. That is why the IT department is releasing
this press note. We believe that everyone should have the right to know
about this township plan, its present status and its fate. To make it
more visualized and to help the people to have more access to the
information, IT department has decided to publish it in the website of
IT department www.itwb.org. Anybody who has any query about this press
release can send the questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or send them
through fax to the number 22821944. It will be answered as quickly as
possible in written form and we will also provide it in the website of
the department. It may please be noted that the questions should relate
to this press release only.
Despite continuous efforts land could not be offered to some key IT
companies who have been demanding the same since 2004-2005. This had
been hindering the growth and depriving the state from realizing its
full potential in this field. Three of the top five employers are TCS,
Wipro and Infosys. All are expected to grow @ 12.15% per year in
today’s tough times and @ 30% in the good times.
Reputed IT companies like Wipro, Infosys were very much interested to
get the land at New Town Rajarhat. But the price of that land deterred
them to take it.
In the middle of 2006 Infosys was shown land near vedic village by
WBIDC. The state Government planned to make land available for Infosys
and other IT companies near Vedic village by March 2007. But this land
could not be acquired till date.
The State Government in general and IT department in particular were
under tremendous pressure as the Government had failed successive dates
for acquiring and handing over land to Infosys and other IT companies.
Failing to get land in West Bengal several IT companies like Infosys,
Zensar and Wipro started taking land and expanding their base in
adjacent state, Orissa.
2. IT department’s initiative
To address this impasse, IT department explored all the available
options: land acquisition, land purchase and public private partnership.
IT department arranged Government land at Kalyani. This site did
not become acceptable to the industries. We could succeed to arrange
the visit of Wipro there, but they did not like to take it.
IT Department started acquiring land through Land and Land
Reforms Department at Jagadishpur Mouza, which came under opposition.
In September, 2008 the notice under section 4 was given which sparked
off agitation. In May, 2009 the notice under section 6 was given.
However, due to public agitation, it was stalled. IT department was
offering a high price for acquisition – about Rs. 1.10 lakh per cottah
(evidence shows that it was much higher than the market price).
When the Government failed to provide land and accommodate IT
companies, a private company on its own initiative contacted Infosys
and offered them land in the area close to Airport and Rajarhat New
Town. Infosys visited the area a number of times and agreed to take the
land and come here provided the Govt. was involved in the project. The
company also engaged the renowned architect of the country, Hafeez
Contractor, whose services are extensively used by Infosys also for
This private company, namely, M/S Akash Nirman Pvt. Ltd. offered a
proposal to IT department for an IT township in this area. They gave an
undertaking to assemble land for the development of this integrated IT
Township. It proposed to hand over 50% of the land assembled free of
cost to Government to allot land to IT companies. Towards this the
company was willing to enter into a joint venture agreement with Webel
for the creation of a joint sector company for the development of an
integrated IT township complete with required social infrastructure
like commercial complex, convention centre, housing, food court,
hospitals, gymnasium, training centres etc. In lieu of sharing 50% of
land with Webel/Government for allocation to IT companies, the Joint
Venture partner expected Webel to take the responsibility of providing
the road connectivity for this township as well as the other required
physical infrastructure facilities like power, water supply, sewerage
disposal, etc. at the doorstep of the proposed project area.
3. Cabinet Approval
With this background and taking into account the urgent requirement of
land by some key IT companies (Wipro, Infosys, ITC Infotech, ICICI,
etc) the IT Dept. prepared a Cabinet Memorandum for entering into this
partnership for the establishment of this IT township. The cabinet memo
was submitted to Finance Department, which made some observations. All
observations of the Finance Department were accepted by the IT
Department including the condition that the expenditure to be incurred
on infrastructure should not exceed the amount realized by providing
land to IT companies. The memo was then placed before the Cabinet
Standing Committee on Industry which approved the above proposal in its
meeting on 28th February, 2008. The members present in this meeting
were - the Chief Minister, C & I Minister, Finance Minister, MSME
Minister and IT Minister. This was later mentioned and ratified by the
full Cabinet in its meeting on 17th April, 2008.
4. The Proposed IT township and Vedic village resort are totally separate
As per the master plan the southernmost point of the township touches
HIDCO area, which is about 7 kms away from Vedic Village where it ends.
The proposed township does not include the Vedic Village Resort.
However, the owner of Vedic Village Resort is one of the Directors of
Akash Nirman Pvt. Ltd.
5. Land to Wipro and Infosys—
IT Dept. signed separate MOU on 03/04/08 with Wipro and Infosys to hand
over 90 acres of land each to the two companies at the IT township. The
representatives of Wipro, and Infosys along with IT Department met the
Chief Minister on 24/04/08 to seal these agreements.
6. Nothing Concealed from Public/ No Clandestine
In a joint press conference of IT Department, Wipro and Infosys on 24th
April, 2008 all details of the township project were spelt out openly
before the press. At no stage did the IT Department try to hide it from
the public. All the news agencies carried it as the lead story on 25th
April, 2008. Besides, it was reported in detail several times in the
leading newspapers (Ananda Bazar Patrika 08/06/08, Times of India on
04/03/08). It was also articulated in the Annual Report of the IT
Department and the budget speech of IT minister. The project is thus
7. A Joint Sector Company was formed
As per cabinet approval, the Joint Sector company namely “WEBEL Akash
IT links Pvt, Ltd.” was formed on 26/09/08.
8. Involvement of other Departments to facilitate the Project
(i) Housing Department:
IT Minister wrote to Housing Minister on 29th May and 24th September
2008 and the Principal Secretary, IT wrote to MD, HIDCO on 13/06/08
informing about project and seeking road connectivity and access to
HIDCO area. HIDCO in its letter dated 4th July 2008 to the IT
Department agreed to provide the access road connecting the said
township with HIDCO and asked IT Department to bear the cost for this
(ii) Land and Land Reforms Department:
Letters were issued by the IT Department to Land and Land Reforms
department on 04/05/08, 05/08/08, 25/08/08, 27/08/08, 22/09/08,
26/09/08, 17/12/08, and 22/12/08 asking for the required clearances.
The L&LR Department issued an order on 11/12/08 allowing the Joint
Sector company and its constituents to hold land in excess of ceiling
(iii) Urban Development Department:
The IT Department wrote to the UD Department on 04/07/08, 19/08/08,
27/08/08, 24/09/08, and17/10/08 asking for the required clearances and
The UD Department issued the notification on 17/11/08 declaring the
Project Area as a Planning Area under the Town and Country Planning Act
along with the constitution of a Planning Authority. The UD Department
again issued a letter on 03/12/08 concerning the Planning Area. The
Planning Authority constituted includes representatives from the IT
Department, the UD Department, KMDA, District Administration—North 24
Parganas, South 24 Parganas and Finance Department. The first meeting
of this Authority was held on 27/05/09.
(iv) PWD Department:
Letters were issued by IT Department on 27/08/08 and12/11/08. PWD was
requested to strengthen and widen the existing road of 211 Bus route
which connects the township.
(v) Irrigation and Waterways Department:
Letters were issued on 4/7/08 and 12/11/08. Officials of this
Department surveyed the area for the sewerage canal and connectivity of
(vi) Power Department: Meetings were held with official of Power Department to meet the power requirement of the township.
(vii) Chief Secretary’s Review meetings with concerned Departments:
Meetings were held under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary on
26/5/2008, 13/8/2008, and 22/10/2008 where the progress of this Project
was reviewed. In the meetings the officials of the concerned
Departments including Housing, Urban Development, Land and Land
Reforms, PWD, Power, Irrigation and Waterways, District Administration
of North and South 24 Pgs were invited.
9. Another Cabinet Approval
UD Department mentioned its Notifications of Planning Area
concerning the said project in the Cabinet meeting on 27/01/09 and got
10. The present position
IT Department has or had no connection or role in purchasing process.
Moreover, the Department had no whiff of any forcible purchase.
In May 2009, IT Department got a list of 90 acres of land from the
private partner that could be given to IT companies. Immediately on
27/05/09, WEBEL provided the details of the 90 acres of land to
Infosys. Infosys informed IT Department that though they were keen to
take the land, they preferred to go slow at present in view of the
global economic slowdown.
An understanding was reached with Wipro to provide them 50 acres of
land to them. The land is ready. The IT Department is looking into the
details of this land (whether it is contiguous, whether it has valid
registration, mutation etc.).
(iv) No land has been transferred till date to either WEBEL or the joint sector company Webel Akash IT Links Pvt. Ltd.
11. The effects of recent incident surrounding Vedic Village
(i) In a recent incident, the Managing Director of the Private Partner has been arrested by the police;
(ii) The Government does not want to be involved in any illegal activity;
(iii) Already, some Departments have opined to scrap the project;
It is also impossible for IT Department to proceed with the project, if
any of the six Departments mentioned in section 8 refuses to facilitate;
(v) Thus IT Department cannot proceed with the project and
Under the circumstances, at this moment we are unable to stick to our
assurances of providing land to Wipro and Infosys and thereby
constrained to inform them about the Government’s inability.