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Other Cities

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DQI Bureau
New Update

Allahabad: Holy Modernity



It is an irony that for the city that gives us our time, time has more or less
stood still (the IST lies very close to modern-day Allahabadso when we check

the time, we are actually checking the time at Allahabad).

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Even today, for an average Illahabadi, the computer is a

mysterious tool that has great promises but complex functions. It still scares

him. The reason is not hard to gauge: there have been a few e-Government

projects, but quite few and very far between. Uttar Pradesh has more or less

missed the IT bus.

But, there has been a ripple in Allahabad that just might turn

into a wave. There are lots of prestigious universities and colleges in and

around Allahabad: The Banaras Hindu University and IIIT Allahabad. It is these

institutions that are driving IT adoption and purchase.

Allahabad Fort
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Today, there are quite a few communities of Allahabad on portals

like Orkut. Even the Government of India has done its nominal bit by setting up

an STPI in Allahabad, thinking that companies would flock to this city. But they

havent really. And they will not, till the ground level situation improves

drastically.

Last year, the High Court in Allahabad was in the news for a

very different reason. Thanks to a committee that was set up, the honorable high

court went online with its own portal, www.allahabadhighcourt.com. All judgments

of the court are now not only available in ODT and ODF formats (the court

underlined its commitment to FOSS), but they are also available in RSS. Thereby

making the Allahabad court probably the only one in the whole world to make

judgments available through RSS.

Thus, though one might not see any outward signs but a silent

revolution of bits and bytes is indeed taking place in Allahabad, So ignore this

holy city at your own peril.

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Bhopal: Seeking IT Nirvana



True, the mention of Bhopal still reminds us of names like Union Carbide and
Methyl Isocyanide (MIC). But, on the other hand, there is little doubt that the

capital city of Madhya Pradesh has also come a long way from that cursed

December night. Rightfully, IT can claim to have played its own bit in heralding

the revival of the city.

Tourists on the Bada Talaab

To encourage discussions on general issues, and to resolve the

financial and personal problems that the channel partners face, the city of

Bhopal had formed the Bhopal Computer Association. However, today, the

association stands divided due to the exit of two prime dealers, who have formed

separate associations of their own. The IT market of Bhopal, therefore, has come

up with a new association. Named after Raja Bhoj, the new association is called

the Bhoj Information Technology and Office Automation Association or BITOAA.

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A major chunk of business in the city also comes from the SOHO

and corporate segments. The demand for computers is increasing in the government

sector as well. Though, initially, the demand was only in the accounts

department of government offices, computers have eventually gained importance in

the HR and other departments also.

The Gyandoot project in the Dhar district of MP, where low cost,

self-sustainable, and community-owned rural Intranet systems (Soochnalay) that

cater to specific needs of village communities, proved to be highly successful,

and was also replicated by the municipal body in Bhopal. The city also has GIAN

(General Information Access System) that provides electronic content in the

public library system through the Internet and CD ROMs. Work has already been

completed in the state library and forty district libraries.

Chandigarh: Symbol of the Future



After having witnessed the bloodiest human migration in history in the form of
partition, Jawaharlal Nehru decided to build a beautiful capital city for the

state of Punjab. He famously proclaimed Chandigarh to be "unfettered by

traditions of the past, a symbol of the nation's faith in the future." Like

any of the city-builders in history, he would not leave a stone unturned

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The Rock Garden

Today, some five decades or so later, one needs to revisit

Chandigarh again to assess whether it is still a beacon for modern India or just

a milestone left behind. Speaking from the perspective of the IT industry,

Chandigarh has largely been a mixed bag. The biggest draw of the city is

definitely the amazing infrastructure, the broad roads, comfortable housing, and

a host of engineering colleges. Yet, IT companies have not really flocked to

Chandigarh.

A host of companies like Infosys, Quark, Dell, Webart Softech,

Netsoft Informatics, and others have set up base in Chandigarh. There have been

numerous discussions on how well suited Chandigarh is for BPO workand IBM

Daksh, Kalldesk, Bay Infocomm, and UCIL are already here.

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Now, another exciting project is coming up in close vicinityan

IT township in SAS Nagar. A consortium formed by Reliance Industries, real

estate investor, Landmark Holdings, Berggruen Holdings Indiasubsidiary of a

New York-based company, and Punjab-based Yellow Stone, which is expected to

infuse over Rs 950 crore in the IT township.

Coimbatore: Moving up with Speed



Like its beloved son, Narayan Kartikeyan, Coimbatore also seems to be in love
with speed. How else can one explain the rapid work that is taking place in

Coimbatore. After Kochi, Coimbatore is witnessing a construction boom. A new IT

park is being constructed by ELCOT and TIDCO.

Marudhamalai Temple
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Infrastructuraly speaking, Coimbatore has always been known for

its well designed roads and well thought out architecture. The city's primary

industries are engineering and textiles. The district also houses the country's

largest number of hosiery and poultry industries. Most of the industries are run

by entrepreneurs, often indigenous with family-based or community financing. The

city's industrial growth started in the 1920s and accelerated after

independence, without any government assistance or the entry of external

industrial houses. Of late, IT companies have started opening offshore

development centers in the city.

The result: a robust economy and a reputation as one of the

greatest industrial centers in South India. TCS has already established its

Center for Engineering Services.

According to reports, Wipro is quite keen to be the anchor

partner for the IT park. There also have been enquiries from Satyam and HSBC for

back-end operations, and a few companies from Bangalore and Chennai for

readymade space in Coimbatore to begin their operations. A CII-commissioned

study by Pricewaterhouse Coopers indicates that companies setting up shop in

Coimbatore can increase profits by 60% compared to those in metros. Coimbatore

has more than eighty engineering and arts and science colleges, so it has an

abundance of talent for the kind of workforce required.

The city also boasts of two STPI earth stations, one at PSGScience

and Technology Entrepreneurial Park (STEP) and another at the KG Information

Services (KGISL) campus at Saravanampatti.

Dehradun: Fragrant IT



Dehradun is famous for fragrant basmati rice, the Doon School, the finishing
school for armed forces, government research institutes, and as a gateway to

hill stations like Mussourie and Dhanolti. The formation of Uttaranchal (now

Uttarakhand) in 2000 and its designation as the capital changed the face of

Dehradunin came administrative infrastructure and political machinery, and

soon the town emerged as a business hub. The social face of IT here got a boost

in 2004 when Microsofts much heralded Project Shiksha was launched in India,

with a Microsoft IT Academy to train teachers in Dehradun.

Chandrabani Temple (Gautam

Kund)

Today the Uttaranchal IT Trade Association from Dehradun that

started in 2000, boasts of more than 100 members, with Strategic Marketing and

Intech Infosys being some of the towns leading resellers. Apart from

enterprises and research institutes, this channel community has succeeded

largely in fostering an IT culture even amongst end users in the city. This was

best illustrated by an IT fair called IT Chetna 2007 organized by the UITTA this

year where Microsofts Xbox proved to be the center of attraction.

The Geodata Processing and Interpretation Centre established in

Dehradun in 1987, is ONGCs largest computing facility and one of the few

centers around the world where integrated processing and interpretation of

different geo-scientific data are carried out.

Not just ONGC, Dehraduns tryst with IT is determined largely

by its research institutes ranging from the Forest Research Institute (FRI),

Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Wildlife Institute of India, and Survey of

India. The presence of the Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) and Indian

Military Academy definitely helpeddefense as a sector has started spending

increasingly on IT.

Guwahati: Underutilized Potential



While India has been the toast of the globalized world, the North Eastwhere
Guwahati is the biggest cityseems to have been largely forgotten. Plagued by

insurgency and lack of adequate infrastructure, the region has lagged behind in

terms of economic development. The Assam government has been desperately seeking

one anchor investor which would help the region attract more investors.

IIT Guwahati academic and administrative

buildings

That search seems to have borne fruit now. TCS big boss, S

Ramadorai, recently paid a visit to the city and is expected to announce the

setting up of a center. If the Assam government is able to bring TCS in, other

companies are likely to follow suit.

Last year, Infosys founder and now chief mentor, Narayana Murthy

visited the city and interacted with students of the Guwahati Engineering

College. While he was impressed with their English language skills and

intellectual caliber, he pointed out that lack of infrastructure like good

hotels and schools would be a big disincentive for companies.

As the war for talent gets tougher, IT companies, especially

Indian IT companies, will spearhead the penetration into smaller towns and

cities. Wipro is eyeing Guwahati in its next phase of expansion. It tested

waters recently recruiting forty-five people.

The government seems to be on an overdrive trying to promote IT

among the people. One of the much talked about IT initiatives of the Assam

government is to provide free computers to students who achieve 60% marks in

their matriculation exams. Last year, 15,000 PCs were distributed towards this

end. E-governance in the state is on the take-off mode. A recent IDC survey

placed Assam as the best state from the East in e-governance projects, from the

point of view of citizen satisfaction and ease of use.

Indore: Anticipating a Boom



Widely regarded as the commercial capital of Madhya Pradesh, Indores tryst
with IT encompasses multiple areas ranging from a strong channel community,

thriving IT exhibitions to becoming an offshore delivery center for global

software service vendors. Two facts bear ample testimony to this. One, Madhya

Pradesh Telecom and computer Traders Association (MPTCTA), the local channel

association, has been organizing, for more than a decade, Fonocom, central Indias

biggest yearly IT exhibition. When IT services major Computer Science

Corporation (CSC) first came to India in early 2000, it set up its initial ODC

in Indore.

Lal Bagh Palace

The anticipation of a boom in the IT and BPO sectors is pushing

real estate development in the city. The MP government has earmarked 2,000 acres

of land for an IT SEZ near the proposed international airport. Another

noteworthy development is the Crystal IT Park on 24 acres of land at Khandwa

Road. Developers like K Raheja and Unitech have already been allotted land in

the proposed IT SEZ. IIM Indore has also helped in boosting its IT fortunes.

And, though Indore has not witnessed any more high profile entry

following CSC, the anticipation is not misplaced considering the presence of a

number of smaller players like Astute Systems, Cleartrail Technologies, Impetus

Infotech, Suvi Information Systems, and Webdunia among others.

CSC realizes its importance in the Indore ecosystem and is

trying to deliver on its social commitment by adopting three villagesSagar

Paisa, Nayagaon, and Lalgaon in the outskirts of the city. Indore has also been

feeding off other traditional sectors of the city like automobile, alloy steel

industry and textiles as well as soyabean cultivation and processing. The city

is home to the likes of Hindustan Motors, Eicher Motors, Bajaj, Nicholas Piramal,

Bridgestone, L&T among others, all heavy spenders of IT.

Jaipur: Taking Centerstage



The rise of Jaipur as an IT destination is but inevitable. It has benefitted
from two triggers: its proximity to Delhi which is a hub of IT investment and

second, the rise of the tier-2 cities.

Hawa Mahal

Jaipur has steadily attracted IT companies from Genpact to

Progeon and Ericsson. Genpact has been the most aggressive with a stated intent

to take the headcount to 3,000 during 2007. It was also among the first big IT

companies to set up a center here. The company is also working with government

nodal agencies to leverage their incubation centers in smaller towns.

Infosys BPO set up a center in December 2006 and has inked

another deal to set up a second center in the upcoming SEZ. Ericsson was among

the early investors in manufacturing to set up a center to manufacture base

stations in Jaipur.

Recognizing the potential in the Jaipur market, IBM has recently

opened its office to target the SMB market. The jewelry industry in Jaipur is a

thriving community and is a lucrative sector for IT companies. Most such

companies are export-oriented, tech-savvy, and have successful online business

models.

The role of the real estate industry in positioning Gurgaon is

legendary and Jaipur seems to be headed the same way. The Mahindras have a joint

venture with RIICO to develop 3,000 bighas of land as a SEZ. Leading IT

companies like Wipro and Infosys are said to have taken up space in the SEZ.

The city also has a good educational infrastructure with both

government and private engineering colleges churning out quality students.

The channel market has reported a marked uptake in the sale of

low-end laptops, so much so that many expect laptops to completely take over the

desktop PC market in a few years time.

Jamshedpur: Tatas all the Way



Ranchi may have taken a temporary lead over Jamshedpur in terms of popularity,
with local lad Mahindra Singh Dhoni emerging as the face of Indian crickets

tomorrow, but, Jamshedpur, at one time the epicenter of Indias manufacturing

might, still has an upper hand, with the Tatas themselves beginning their second

innings as a global steel superpower. Never mind where they acquire, the control

room would always be in this small, but cosmopolitan city of India.

Statue of JN Tata at the

Indian Institute of Science

Jamshedpurs IT is a reflection of the citys economy. The

local IT industry has two components: one, the offices of large firms that

supply to the Tatas, as well as to the specialized firms; two, the channel and

reseller market targeting home users. Not surprisingly, the latter have aligned

with commercial markets of the city with the commercial center of activity,

Bishtupur, having vibrant consumer IT markets in its Kamani Center and Amar

Market. Despite the fact that Ranchi, with its new government offices, has a

much more active channel/reseller community, Jamshedpur is giving it a run for

its money.

With rumors that Tata Steel may handover the management of its

IT infrastructure to group company TCS, if and when that happens, Jamshedpur

will suddenly become a domestic IT services hub. With the most famous HR

management training school, XLRI, being situated in the city, manpower should

not be a big issue.

It is the Tatas which comprise the citys IT user base.

Madurai: IT Driven Future



Madurai is one of the most revered religious towns of the Hindus, with the
Meenakshi temple and Lord Murugan having a special place. In recent years, this

Tamil Nadu city has emerged as one of the fastest growing IT markets among

B-class cities. It has a thriving reseller community: the Madurai channel

business is driven by the SOHO and SMB segments mainly.

Meenakshi Temple

Madurai has an active IT association called CAMSMthe Computer

and Media Society of Madurai. The city is not just one of the fastest growing

markets in TN after Coimbatore, but the rural areas surrounding the city are

also showing positive growth.

In 2007 the state government accorded administrative sanction

for establishing a 1,000,000 sq ft IT park. Besides this government-run STPI,

has identified two sites for setting up the much-awaited IT park. The Madurai

Corporation has also identified 29.93 acres of land for establishing the Tidel

Park (another ELCOT undertaking).

Honeywell's Research Lab and TCS' DR Center have also helped the

IT development. Also, Syntel, Infosys, and RR Industries have strong interest in

opening development centers. IBM too has established its "Rational Center

of Excellence" in the city.

Madurai already boasts of quite a few local companies like

Aarvee Information Systems, CCS Infotech, Chella Software, among others. The

Madurai District Tiny and Small Scale Industries Association (Maditssia) has

tied up with CII and Nasscom to conduct the Madurai.com program to showcase the

citys IT potential. Already the city contributes nearly 40% of IT manpower in

Tamil Nadu.

Mangalore: Fishing for Big Investments



Mangalore (or Mangalooru) has indeed transformed over the years. Yet the
transition is not that startling, simply because Mangalore always had the

potential to emerge as one of the biggest cities of India, even in comparison to

the former pensioners paradise, Bangalore.

Front View of MCC Headquarters

at Lalbagh

The reason is not hard to find. Since the middle ages, coastal

Mangalore has always been a vital trading point on the western shore. Thus, over

the last many years, a number of related industries came to exist in Mangalore.

Right from coffee traders to ship building companies like Swan Aquatics. Not

only that, there are a few major chemical and fertilizer companies also present

in Mangalore.

Nonetheless, Mangalore is ready to move to the next level, and

is wooing IT companies in a big way. Infosys is truly the first and the biggest

in Mangalore. Spread over an area of 300 acres, the Infosyss campus in Konaje

is quite a landmark. Infosys also has significant presence in Blue Berry Hill

STPI in Mangalore. Wipro is also actively working on a facility in Mangalore to

complement its huge campus in Mysore. There has been a lot of talk on how well

suited Mangalore is for BPO activities. According to many, the region has more

scope for BPO than software because of the high education level. Mangalore has

plenty of renowned schools and colleges in the city or the near vicinity,

thereby supplying a large labor pool. Little wonder, than MPhasis BPO had set up

shop in Mangalore. Not only Indian companies but even MNCs are keen to make a

move to Mangalore. Take the case of First Indian Corporation; a wholly owned

subsidiary of The First American Corporation has started operations in

Mangalore.

Mysore: Not a Mere Satellite



For Mysore, its close proximity to Bangalore is both a boon and a bane. Over the
last few years, there has been a major spurt in investments in the hilly town

due to the supposed saturation in Bangalore. On the other hand, this is quite

disquieting.

Hotel Lalitha Mahal

Before India attained independence, Mysore was regarded as one

of the premier princely states of India. Unlike many other royal maharajas who

splurged money on themselves, Krishnaraja Wodeyar, who ruled from 1902 to 1941,

was largely responsible for much of the modernization of Mysore.

Thus, Mysore was modern much before the Silicon magic wand

transformed Bangalore. It never did have the big heavy industries, except for

Mysore Sandal Oil Factory or Krishnarajendra Mills. Much of the industries were

traditional in outlook and small in scale. So, while Bangalore hogged the

limelight as an IT hub, Mysore continued to retain its old world charm as the

cultural capital of Karnataka. But, that is set to change.

The Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) has

established four industrial areas in and around MysoreBelagola, Belawadi,

Hebbal (Electronic City) and Hootagalli. This has resulted in a fair amount of

optimism among IT players. Infosys has made a big splash already by setting up

one of the largest technical training centers in the world; Wipro has also

established its Global Service Management Center in Mysore; and there have been

a few BPOs coming up as well.

Mysore now boasts of a four-lane high-speed expressway from

Bangalore and is hoping that the government keeps its word on providing better

infrastructure, connectivity and the much publicized BPO park in Bogadi. In the

year 2006-07, Mysore contributed Rs 760 crore to Karnataka's Rs 48,700 crore IT

exports, overtaking Mangalore as the second largest IT center in terms of

revenue.

Nashik: Sweet Grapes for IT



Traveling through Nashik is an experience by itself. On one hand, there exists a
Nashik that is extremely ruralfarmers tilling their land, and on the very

other it is up-to-date and modern with flyovers and theatres.

Panchbati, where the famous Kumbh Mela

takes place

Lying just a few hundred kilometers from Mumbai, there has been

a concerted effort to start up industrial zones that will help the SMB segment.

As of now, there are close to 6 MIDC and 10 Co-operative Industrial Estates in

existence in and around Nashik and more are coming up. There is also an STPI on

the Ambad region.

In the past few years, industrial activity has really picked up,

especially after the mega SEZ in the Sinnar area. Many reputed companies like

Mahindra & Mahindra, MICO, Siemens, Crompton Greves, Kirloskar, Reymond

Steel, Jindal, Glaxo India have established their units in Nashik. This has led

to a spurt in IT adoption in the region.

Nashik also has some good educational institutes: 9 government

ITIs, 13 private ITIs, 2 engineering colleges, and more such. Due to the close

proximity of Nashik to both Mumbai and Pune, it has been touted as an ideal BPO

destination. A vindication of the same was when WNS arrived in Nashik after

acquiring ClaimsBPO, an offshore division of the US-based Green Snow Inc, which

provided HIPPA-compliant BPO services. As of now, around 7-8 non-voice BPO

companies, including Mumbai-based Tricom India and WNS Global Services, are

working out of Nashik. Nashik is indeed a very good investment opportunity: the

grapes are certainly sweet here.

Puducherry: Spiritualism and IT



Puducherrys is an unusual story of rise in the IT scene. This former French
colony, known more for its spiritualism, emanating from the Aurobindo Ashram,

has traditionally been a place to unwind for business visitors to Chennai.

The Legislative Assembly

In the last few years, however, Puducherry has shot to

prominence in its own rightfirst as an IT manufacturing location with

facilities of IBM (now Lenovo), HCL peripherals, and SES Technologies; and then

a destination of choice for BPO firms. Puducherry has managed to get investments

from the likes of Firstsource, Infosys BPO, and Manila-based SPI Technologies,

solely based on its quality of manpower and with little marketing effort. In

addition, the homegrown Integra has grown to become one of the frontline

publishing BPO service providers in its own right, inspiring the likes of

medical transcription firm, Aziumth, that are the ones to watch out for. Lason

India also has strengthened its franchisee model here. Realizing the potential,

the government has earmarked 1,000 acres of land for a proposed IT SEZ in the

state in a location called Karasu.

Puducherry has also found favor with the local Indian companies

that are centralizing their call centers in a few locations. Two of the biggest

such firmsBharti Airtel (managed by MphasiS BPO) and ICICI Bankhave

established their hubs in the city.

Other industries, especially auto components and food processing

both of which have a fairly vibrant manufacturing industry in the city-state.

Chennais manufacturing boom is also helping Puducherry in terms of ancillary

industries in those areas, making Puducherry an attractive destination for

domestic IT firms.

Raipur: Out of the Shadows



The capital city of the newly formed Chattisgarh state, Raipur, is not very
well-known, even on a national level, Even though it has been over six years now

since Chattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh. Lying on the precious

mineral belt in central India, Raipur has a whole lot of mining companies that

have set up operations in and around the city. Traditionally, Raipur has been

described as "an agricultural-processing and saw-milling town". The

city is located centrally in the state of Chattisgarh, and serves as a regional

hub for trade and commerce for a variety of local agricultural and forest

products. Not only that, the region is also emerging as an important educational

hub.

The District Court

But, the change is very evident. Recently, Chattisgarhs and

Raipurs very first mall, 'City Mall 36', was inaugurated. Even the Taj Group

of Hotels has started work on a five star hotel in Raipur. Though the Supreme

Court clamp down was a setback for Raipur, the state government is actively

wooing IT companies to set up shop in Raipur, and invest through SEZ. Chips, a

registered society promoted by the government, was instrumental for many e-Gov

initiatives.

The government is also actively developing a vast tract of land

near the city, calling it Naya Raipur. The place is well-laid out and would have

the best infrastructure available in the whole of the state. According to many,

once this project is completed, moving to Raipur will not be difficult decision

for IT majors.

Ranchi: Silicon on its Platter



If Dhoni, the youth icon, represents the modern face of the city, for the older
generation Ranchis identity was its mental hospitals and water falls. IT has

proved to be a bridge between these two. Thanks initially to the historical

presence of heavy engineering industries and premier educational institutes, and

later to a thriving reseller community. Unlike Jamshedpur that has been

synonymous with the Tatas, Ranchis IT journey has been scripted equally by

public and private players and, more importantly, research organizations.

Albert Ekka Chowk

Heavy Engineering Corporation, Metallurgical Consultants,

Central Coalfields, and later private players like Usha Martin played a major

role in bringing IT to this small town in the adivasi heartland. Institutes like

BITS-Mesra, RIMS, Central Institute for Psychiatry, and XISS supplemented the

requirements with quality manpower. Add to this the presence of premier research

organizations like RDCIS-SAIL (SAILs R&D center), Central Lac Research

Institute and the Coal Mines Planning and Development Institute, and the reason

for IT excellence becomes understandable.

What these enterprises and institutes ensured was the rise in IT

consumption and today Ranchi, along with Bhubaneshwar and Guwahati, has emerged

as one of the three principal IT hubs in the east beyond Kolkata.

While like many of the young states, Jharkhand too has seen

little political stability, the political mandarins of Ranchi are thinking big

in terms of IT. On the anvil are plans to set up a hi-tech city and with the

climate conducive to setting up STPs, Ranchi looks set to move up in the Indian

IT hierarchy in the near future. The capital of Indias most mineral-rich

state could soon add silicon to its burgeoning platter.

Siliguri: On the Himalayan Foothills



Siliguri had shot into prominence on the IT front following the PMs
declaration of the governments looking east policy. The idea was to

activate the trading link with the entire South East Asia and Siliguri was

planned as the gateway.

The Toy Train

With Siliguri set to become the next IT hotspot, the town is

starting to witness a thriving reseller community. Computer Land, Logic Fusion,

Placewell Systems & Solutions, Micro Infosystem and Landmark Office Systems

are some of the major names to have emerged in the Siliguri channel community.

Thanks to them, most major vendors are available in Siliguri today; some like

Acer are also going the retail route by planning both Acer Mall and Acer Point

in the city. 2007 saw the emergence of the first IT dealers association in

Siliguri.Driven by the need for a universal and impartial platform where any

issues related to IT can be resolved neutrally, dealers and partners in Siliguri

joined hands during this year to float an open forum christened the North Bengal

IT Forum (NBIF). The specialty of the newly formed forum is that it has no

hardcore hierarchy or designation to be maintained.

Six of the resellers from the city were slapped with a Rs 25,000

fine by Microsoft during the year as part of their anti-piracy drive following

which the channel community is now trying to educate customers on piracy. Though

there is a strong demand for brands like Lenovo, APC, Acer, Compaq and notebooks

from Dell and Toshiba, service remains a major concern. Once these teething

issues are resolved, one hopes that this city on the Himalayan foothills would

attain Himalayan heights on the IT front.

Srinagar: Healing Impact



If there is a heaven on earth, it's here, it's here, it's here," proclaimed
the Mughal emperor Jahangir on the beauty of Kashmir. However, the journey of

Jammu and Kashmir from heaven to hell took just a few years, thanks to AK 56s,

47s, and Kalashnikovs. And, while on a peaceful settlement of the Valley hangs

the future of two nations and the entire subcontinent, IT in Srinagar has

started making some healing impact in its own small way.

Dal Lake

A thriving channel association means that notwithstanding

security problems IT consumption in the city has gradually started moving up.

The efforts to bring Srinagar, and the entire Jammu and Kashmir, into the

national mainstream would ensure greater business opportunities and more

initiatives on the government side; this automatically translates into more IT

usage.

Srinagar has also marched ahead on the e-Governance front. The

J&K municipal automation package is currently under implementation.

Electoral Rolls & Elector's Photo Identity Cards, J&K Revenue

Management, as well as relief cases monitoring system are some important e-Gov

initiatives. Besides the general administration department taking the lead in

introducing a computer network and a website, the finance department has started

with a cashless treasury, and is all set to digitize its records.

The government earlier made an ambitious outlay of $8.2 mn to

set up 139 community information centers, connecting all villages across Jammu

and Kashmir, alongside call centers and other schemes to boost IT across the

state. Maybe in terms of good relations with Pakistan, the government could look

to extend these initiatives to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir too. If buses can link

Srinagar with Muzaffarabad, why cant IT do the same?

Surat: The Jewel in the Crown



Surat is the diamond capital of the world. It also happens to be the textile
town, with scores of textile mills situated in and around it.

But the ascendancy of Surat has not been sudden. Since the

Mughal dynasty rule, Surat started emerging as a premier trade centre. But, the

town could not maintain its golden days, and fell into disrepute.

Thani Railway Station

The economy, however, is picking up once again.

The Gujarat government has chalked out an aggressive plan to

promote the state as a knowledge hub, since much of the gems and jewelry centers

are present in the city, obviously they are taking the lead in terms of

modernization efforts. Thus, the government announced the setting up of a

special economic zone (SEZ) at Icchapore, near Surat. The SEZ is expected to

drive the economy of Surat in a big way. The textile companies have also had an

impact on the domestic market, as mills like Govardhan, Everest, and Motiani

Fashions have computers for mass-scale production. This has coaxed companies

like Sun Microsystems and IBM to have a focus on these markets. As most of the

business potential of tier-1 cities has been exploited, vendors are eagerly on

the lookout for business in tier-2 and 3 cities.

The channel also seems to be perking up to the opportunity. The

top three players from Surat are Jupiter Automation, Valsons Computer, and

Chopra Enterprises.

From the perspective of education, Surat offers good facilities

like SVNIT, CKPCET, SCET, etc.

Surat is a vibrant city, in close proximity to Mumbai. It is

also an immensely cosmopolitan city. Surat has always been a multi-cultural

society. Fortunately, it maintains this spirit even to this day. History might

not have been fair to Surat, but, the future beckons brightly, much like the

diamonds that pass through the city and dazzle the world.

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