Only 115 jobs created, against a target of 2,500 jobs

The IT/ITES Special Economic Zone developed at the IT Park at Gannavaram near here is unable to attract export-based software companies despite many efforts in the past two years. Only 115 jobs have been created so far as against the overall target of 2,500 jobs at this SEZ since its inception on October 1, 2009.

Following lukewarm response from major IT companies and financial constraints, doubts have been raised over the SEZ de-notification in order to provide space for some local companies also dealing in IT related activities and services. Extranet Solutions, Indmax Technologies and two other companies, presently occupying space at the SEZ, are worried about the move on the proposed broad-based activities at the IT Park.

As this change of status appears inevitable, Vodafone and another company dealing with Aadhaar cards have expressed their readiness to take space at the IT Park. As the operations of such companies are not export-based, they cannot enter the IT Park as long as it has the SEZ tag.

At the first block at the IT Park (Medha) about two lakh sft. of top class IT space has been developed so far. The L&T Hitech City Limited, a joint venture company of the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation and the L&T Infocity Ltd, could not attract top IT companies while some local firms with export aspirations sought space at very low lease rates.

Andhra Chamber of Commerce and Industry Secretary Chukkapally Ramakrishna Prasad had indicated to the IT Park officials that with increased air connectivity, the city would become an attractive destination for major IT firms in the near future.

However, the IT Park officials maintained that major companies like GE, HSBC, Microsoft and Deloitte were preferring non-SEZ IT space as SEZs have become less active after the introduction of MAT and also due to various other difficulties.

Mixed response

There has been mixed response from the industry to the removal of SEZ status with some industrialists favouring steps for making the project a success while others want at least a part of the project to continue as an SEZ. The IT SEZ was developed in over 30 acres near the Gannavaram airport with the developers having incurred an expenditure of Rs.180 crore. About 2,000 sft. of space has been occupied at present as against the overall 2 lakh sft built up space.