Infosys Wants to Enter West Bengal with SEZ

Infosys Wants to Enter West Bengal with SEZ
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Infosys has proposed to set up the SEZ over an area of 20.14 hectares in New Town, South 24 Parganas. The company had earlier paid Rs 75 crore to buy the land from the state government.

KOLKATTA, 6 AUGUST, 2016: After Wipro decided to enter Rajarhat, its now Infosys, who wants to set up a special economic zone (SEZ) in West Bengal has got a fresh lease of life with the Board of Approval slated to take up the proposal in its meeting on August 12.

“The Development Commissioner of Falta Special Economic Zone has recommended the grant of in-principle approval, subject to state government clearance which has been sought for from the applicant,” said a notification on the agenda for the August 12 meeting.

The Infosys project is yet to receive the recommendations of the state government whose response will indicate whether chief minister Mamata Banerjee has revised her stand on SEZs in her second innings at the helm of the state.

The move follows close on the heels of Wipro applying for an SEZ at Rajarhat even as the board had deferred the proposal in its June 22 meeting as it was waiting for the recommendations of the Mamata Banerjee-government. Wipro had proposed an SEZ over 19.76 hectares.

A special economic zone cannot come up without the approval of the state government concerned.

Infosys has proposed to set up the SEZ over an area of 20.14 hectares in New Town, South 24 Parganas. The company had earlier paid Rs 75 crore to buy the land from the state government.

Infosys was allocated the plot in 2010 by the previous Left Front government at a subsidised rate along with the promise of an SEZ tag. However, when the Trinamul came to power in 2011, it declined to give the special status that would have qualified it for several tax breaks and other incentives. Infosys has since then put the project on the backburner.

Earlier this month, state IT minister Bratya Basu had informed the state Assembly that SEZ proposals received from some IT companies were not in line with the state government’s overall policy for tax-free zones.

Last month, Infosys had expressed its willingness to meet Basu to discuss the project. The minister said the state was open to holding discussions with the company but on its own terms. He said the state’s IT policy had been framed keeping all companies in mind.

In the past, too, Infosys had sought SEZ approval but the matter could not make much progress with the state government dilly-dallying on the application. Hence, the company decided to come up with a fresh application.

A proposed SEZ first gets in-principle approval, when a developer is yet to get land. After the developer acquires the land, the SEZ gets formal approval.