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Nagpur: Catching up with IT

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DQI Bureau
New Update

Nagpur is the largest city in central India. The countrys

geographical center (Zero Mile) passes through the city. Thus, every distance in

India is measured with Nagpur as the starting point. In fact, for quite

sometime, there have been talks of making Nagpur the second capital of India due

to its strategic location. Certainly, the infrastructure is worthy of a capital

city.

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Infrastructure Strength



According to a recent study conducted by UK-based estate consultants Knight
Frank, among a host of other cities, Nagpur is ranked number one in terms of

physical infrastructure, at par with Chandigarh and ahead of cities like

Visakhapatnam, Jaipur, Kochi, Goa, and others. This is quite a vindication for a

city that has largely been untouched by rapid economic developments made

elsewhere in the country.

The city is also well connected, both by road and railways, to

different parts of the country. In fact, Nagpur is the transit point for all the

trains that connect the country. The city is also connected by air to all the

major airports, and now also boasts of international flights connecting the city

globally. And with the launch of the multi-modal international hub airport at

Nagpur (MIHAN) in 2002-03, the city has truly become an important transit

location.

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Zero Mile: Indias geographical center

passes through here

An Industrial Hub



Spread over an area of 250 sq km, Nagpur was one of the first cities in
India that embraced industrialization. Way back in 1877, the Tata Group started

the countrys first textile mill, the Central India Spinning and Weaving

Company, in Nagpur. Since then the city has been a center of commerce in the

Vidarbha region. A large number of industries are located in Butibori industial

area that lies in the vicinity of Nagpur. Similarly, there are many companies

like Mahindra & Mahindra, NECO, Bajaj Auto, Vicco Laboratories, which are

present in the Hingna industial estate.

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IT companies are also waking up to the potential offered by

Nagpur in terms of good infrastructure, an abundant and cheap labor pool, and

the SEZs. Already a number of companies have taken up space in Nagpur, like

Satyam Computer Services. L&T is setting up an Infocity.

"Much of the IT business in Nagpur is driven by these

companies. There are a few that are based in Nagpur and, hence, local players

are benefited. Till a few years back, not many hardware vendors had a presence

in Nagpur but that has changed dramatically. Today, every companyfrom IBM to

HCLhas a representative in the city. Even Microsoft has come here and grown

by over 900%," says Vinod Verma, CEO, Key Computers.

One of the major buyers in the region is the IAF, which spends

close to Rs 3 crore annually on IT.

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The MIHAN Effect



Every one in Nagpur seems to be talking of just one thing, MIHAN. Not
surprisingly, after decades of neglect, Nagpur has finally got a project that it

deserves and that too the biggest infrastructure project in India.

Taking a chapter right out of China, the government of India is

beefing up Nagpur as a major hub. So, around the airport, over 2,000 hectares of

land has been earmarked for the MIHAN project. The government agencies are

ensuring that this project is of global quality, thus, the construction is high

grade and so are all other amenities. Little wonder then that major companies

like Satyam Infotech, GE, DLF, Shapoorji Pallonji, L&T Infotech, Patni

Computers and Microsoft have taken up large parcels of land in the SEZ within

the project. And that is not all: TCS has also announced setting up of a

5,000-seater facility in Nagpur. Even MNCs like IBM and Dell have taken up space

in Nagpur.

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"MIHAN is going to completely change the face of the city.

It has been the biggest thing to have happened and all the players within the

city as well as outside are keenly awaiting its completion," says Malathi

Swaminath, managing director, Zeta Softech.

It will cost around Rs 3,500 per sq ft. "MIHAN makes a lot

of sense for IT companies that want to set up shop in Nagpur in a big way. Not

only is it cost-effective, but as the colleges and residential areas are in

close proximity, there will not be a shortage of manpower to companies working

out of it," says Rakesh Agarwal, CEO, Mayur Computers.

Strengths

  • Great city

    infrastructure

  • One of the biggest

    infrastructure projects in the country, MIHAN, is in the city

Weaknesses

  • Lack of political

    interest

  • Poor power supply

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A Scientific Hub



Over the years, largely due to the presence of innumerable engineering
government companies, Nagpur has emerged as a scientific and engineering hub.

The city is home to a number of national-level scientific and governmental

establishments like the National Environmental Engineering and Research

Institute, the Central Institute of Cotton Research, the National Research

Center for Citrus, the National Bureau of Soil Survey and Land Use Planning, the

Jawaharlal Nehru National Aluminium Research and Development Centre, the Indian

Bureau of Mines, India's Intellectual Property Training Institute, the National

Academy of Direct Taxes, the Chief Controller of Explosives of the Petroleum and

Explosives Safety Organization, and the South Central Zone Cultural Centre, in

addition to a regional office of the Indian Meteorological Department.

"Nagpurs biggest strength is its educational institutes.

With around eighteen engineering colleges in and around the city, there is a

steady flow of workforce. The big problem was that till now there was not much

opportunity for these people. But that is changing, and as benefits from MIHAN

and other projects percolate, Nagpur will see a reverse brain drain," says

Chandrahas Chaudhari, technical head, Business Services, ADCC.

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"Nagpur has all the makings of an IT hub but, sadly, it has

not been the case. According to me, the city is very well suited for high-end

R&D and has the best engineering graduates that you can find anywhere in the

country. The only problem is that it gets very hot in the summers," says AK

Maji, director (Acting), NBSS-LUP.

For far too long Nagpur has been a victim of political

machinations. The region (Vidharbha) has wanted to separate itself from

Maharashtra, which does not want to let go because of its immense natural wealth

(remember Chota-Nagpur mining belt). The city has dragged along almost

valiantly, been relegated to secondary status within the state.

But all that seems to be changing now and those huge cranes near

the airport are laboring toward a new morrow. Nagpurs time seems to have come

to reclaim its rightful position under the sun.

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