With hope of getting a special economic zone (SEZ) in West Bengal fading away, information technology (IT) major Wipro on Thursday said it was working on an alternative plan to set up a second campus in the state.
“We are exploring newer opportunities. That chapter (SEZ) is closed,” said Rishad Premji, chief strategy officer at Wipro, on the sidelines of the Nasscom East IT Awards.
Wipro was one of the first IT companies to set up operations in West Bengal. It had been demanding an SEZ status and had withheld further investment in the state, though it had 50 acres of land. Infosys’ entry in the state has also been delayed because of the Trinamool Congress government’s reluctant SEZ policy. Wipro’s first campus was set up with an SEZ status during the Left regime.
Nasscom President R Chandrashekhar said as per law no new SEZ licences could be granted after April 1 this year. “However, SEZs set up before will continue to enjoy benefits.”
At the event, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said, “Forget SEZ, it is sunset now (for it).”
She added while Wipro and Infosys would not get SEZ licences, the state would assist them. “Let me know what you want and we will help you. Our land bank is ready. If you set up IT units here, your cost will be lowest in the country.”
Comparing Bengaluru, the IT capital of the country, with West Bengal she said her state was the ideal destination for firms in the sector. “Attrition in Bengaluru is 35 per cent; in Kolkata it is three per cent,” Banerjee said.