Friday, September 25, 2009

IT Park project scrapped

Each company was assured 90 acres by the government

The West Bengal government scrapped the much-hyped IT Park project on the 500 acres at Rajarhat area near Salt Lake City following a land scam involving land grabbers and government officials.

Indian IT companies, like Infosys Technologies and Wipro, were supposed to set up their project here and each company was assured 90 acres. But the project failed to come to fruition. Earlier, projects in Nandigram and Singur were scrapped. After the poll debacle, the Barasat-Raichak Bypass and Dankuni DLF Township projects were scrapped.

TSI had earlier reported how the state government inked deal with land mafia Rajkishore Modi’s company Akash Nirman Private Ltd. Besides, the department had sealed a deal with the Diamond group of Amar Nath Shroff. Both the companies formed joint venture with the state government’s IT company WEBEL (erstwhile West Bengal Electronics Ltd) and rechristened as WEBEL Akash IT Links and WEBEL Diamond IT Links. According to the contract they would procure 1200 acres from the farmers and hand over 600 acres free of cost to the state IT department. In return, the state would provide infrastructure free of cost. When land acquisition became nearly impossible, these companies — reportedly close to top CPM leaders — used notorious goons like Gaffar Molla, Ruidas Mondal alias Luis (one time CPM panchayat member), Gour Mondal and Kelo Babu to grab peasants’ lands. This fact has also been admitted by Chief Secretary of the State. The state colluded with the mafia.

To seek a loan of Rs 425 crore from the Central Bank of India, these two companies formed another JV between themselves, Vedic Diamond IT Links, ‘to purchase land in South and North 24 Parganas and develop township’. The bank after disbursing Rs 125 crore discovered that the land mortgaged was agricultural land, which was illegal. Bank sources said, “Presumably, if the mortgaged land was non-agricultural then the question is how that was converted!” All this prompted minister Abdul Rezzak Mollah to demand for scrapping of the IT project.

However, Housing Minister Gautam Deb — the “kingpin” of the whole land-grab drive — slammed Mollah and said he knew nothing of Gaffar or corruption at the IT Park. But, the cracks were visible as many comrades supported Mollah and demanded scrapping of the IT Park. Yet, no decision was taken.

It was only after criticism of the Left Front government by Politbureau members and CPM general secretary Prakash Karat that forced the government to scrap the project.

For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source :
IIPM Editorial, 2008
An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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