After making three frustratingly futile attempts to put the controversial Crystal IT park in Indore, the Madhya Pradesh government has now decided to lease it out instead of inviting tenders for a co-developer.
Located at the prime business area of Bhawanrkuan in Indore, the Crystal IT Park is tagged with IT-specific special economic zone (SEZ) in the state.
“Unlike our previous attempts to find a partner as co-developer, we have decided to sell space in Crystal IT Park on lease basis,” a highly-placed government source said. “We will develop it at our own,” he told Business Standard. Translated into simpler terms, the government will rent out the building for IT companies.
Since 2003, the state industries department has made several attempts to rope in a private partner — the latest has been Mumbai-based Zoom Developers, having qualified for the bid as co-developer for Rs 104 crore in 2008 but later preferred to wash its hands off with the plan and allow the state government to confiscate the earnest money it had deposited with the government to own the SEZ.
To lure IT giants like Infosys, Wipro and TCS besides a few state-initiated efforts so as to create software development and related information technology activities by Audyogik Kendra Vikas Nigam (AKVN), a state industry department arm.
“A few years ago,” recalls another government official. “AKVN had roped in TCS (Tata Consultancy Service), Wipro, SKIL, and Infosys as consultants. Experts found the building design faulty,” he told Business Standard.
Constructed colossally on an area of 7.99 hectares with an equally huge sum of Rs 55.26 crore, the Crystal IT park building has been developed on an area of 550,000 sq ft and has 51,181 sq mt built-up area. The nine-storied building now bears deserted look for many years. Controversies plagued the building before it could come out of drawing board.
“Locally,” says an Indore-based industrialist who has closely seen government moves on Crystal IT Park, “none wants this building to come up as it is located in prime business locality of Bhanwarkuan (near Indore University), only land cost is more than Rs 500 crore these days. So, why does the government want to sale it out at throwaway price?”
On all occasions, whenever AKVN Indore floated tenders, it asked the co-developer to develop 550,000 sq ft and allowed it to construct and market another 11,000 sq ft. Industry sources say it was a matter of investigation that original design of the building has been changed.
According to the policy, IT-specific SEZs are notified areas where companies will have permission to purchase duty-free material under SEZ Act 2005.