Saturday, June 30, 2007

CM gets Microsoft to invest in Pune IT park

I hope the CM ensures Pune doesn't go the same way Mumbai has - to the dogs. The good thing is Microsoft is happy with 50 acres. If it was Infosys they would've asked for 500 acres. Microsoft realises its not in the real-estate business. This news is surely going to set the tails wagging in the fledgling Pune real estate market and brokers and builders will jump on it to hype up prices in areas in the vicinity of Hinjewadi.

Mumbai: Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s American holiday got an unexpected sweetener—Microsoft chairman Bill Gates has committed to setting up a state-of-the-art IT park in Pune district’s Hinjewadi, sometimes described as the Silicon Valley of India.
Deshmukh, currently touring the US to market Maharashtra as a ‘first choice destination’, had a long meeting with Gates at the Microsoft offices in Seattle. Deshmukh’s pitch—that his government would apply the new developments in information technology to the welfare of farmers—evidently tugged at Gates’ heart-strings, and purse-strings too.
“Microsoft will set up an IT park in Pune district and will take all possible steps for the welfare of farmers,’’ the philanthropist-techie announced to the highlevel Maharashtra delegation comprising Deshmukh, industries minister Ashok Chavan, chief secretary Johny Joseph, the CM’s secretary U C Sarangi and industries secretary V K Jairath.
“After my meeting with Bill Gates, I am sure relations between Microsoft and my government will be strengthened. I am overwhelmed by the reception given to me,’’ Deshmukh observed in his concluding remarks. The chief minister said that in the next decade, Maharashtra would emerge as one of the best states in terms of basic infrastructure, power, industrial development and roads. “We will be on par with any other developed country,’’ he announced. State expects Gates to invest Rs 300-500cr
Mumbai: Reviewing the performance of his government, chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said in Seattle that during the last year, a record number of major industries—49—had been set up in the IT sector in Maharashtra, with a total investment of Rs 5,929 crore and had created an estimated seven lakh jobs.
Details of the Microsoft project are not available but what is known is that the government has offered a 50-acre plot in Hinjewadi and is expecting an investment of between Rs 300 crore to Rs 500 crore. “The fact that Gates has decided to set up an IT park in Maharashtra is significant,’’ said an official. “Along with us, at least a dozen states were knocking at his doors asking for his business.’’
Microsoft currently has 5,000 people working in India. Of these, 1,300 are software developers at the company’s development centre in Hyderabad. Until now, for Microsoft, this has been the only city where so large a number of software developers was posted. Bangalore has a research centre but is much smaller, with only 50 people.
The official said ever since Deshmukh made it known that he had plans to visit the US six months ago, senior bureaucrats had been drafting a strategy to ensure that this would not be just one more foreign tour. “We planned our strategy very carefully and fixed our targets. The decision of Gates to invest in Maharashtra is being viewed as a major success of Deshmukh’s foreign tour,’’ the official said.

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