The clock is ticking for HCL Technologies, India’s fourth largest information technology (IT) services company, to complete its Rs 1,500 crore Lucknow IT City project by October 2016.
The deadline for the project, one of the three flagship projects of the Akhilesh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh, was set after the project failed to move on the ground, even after almost a year of him laying the foundation of the project on October 15, 2014. Together with the under-construction Agra-Lucknow Expressway and Lucknow Metro, the 100-acre Lucknow IT City forms the troika of Yadav’s pet projects, which he dreams of completing before facing the 2017 state polls. The ruling Samajwadi Party is keen to showcase these projects as examples of its development agenda and policies.
So far, HCL investment arm Vamasundari Investments, which had signed a MoU with the state to set up the IT City in June 2014, has only managed to level the ground at the project site situated on the Lucknow-Sultanpur highway which is part of Chak Ganjaria Farm owned by the state animal husbandry department. When fully completed, the PPP project is estimated to provide direct jobs to nearly 25,000 people with indirect employment to 50,000. In first phase, only 1,000 people would be provided employment. Earlier, there had also been delays in the transfer of the land from the animal husbandry department to the project. Now, the project has been accorded SEZ status by the Centre.
Recently, HCL founder Shiv Nadar had met Yadav and assured the project would be completed on time. HCL has decided to use prefab technology in the project for faster completion. In a recent review meeting, Yadav had directed his officials to ensure that the IT City projects starts functioning by October 2016.
The IT City is part of the mega CG City project envisioned by the government.
Which also includes IIT (50 acres), medicity (100 acres), super specialty hospital/cardiology centre (20 acres), UP Administrative Academy (25 acres), diary processing plant (20 acres), dairy development (5 acres), CSI Tower (5 acres), cultural school (10 acres) and modern township over 511 acres.
The IT City has been envisaged on the lines of similar hubs in Hyderabad and Bangalore to serve as a knowledge hub, both for development and training apart from housing residential complexes. It would comprise skill development centre spanning over 10 acres, and churn out 5,000 students per year. Smaller IT Parks spanning 10 acres have also been proposed in Lucknow, Meerut, Kanpur and Agra in association with the Software Technology Parks of India.
Speaking at the foundation laying ceremony last year, Nadar had noted the project would be a “stellar model” for India, wherein both training and employment opportunities would be provided at one place along with hostel facilities. However, the company faces an uphill task of completing the project within the new deadline and ensuring it attains the operational attribute of an IT services hub.Meanwhile, an emailed query sent to HCL had remained unanswered till the time of filing of this report.