Kozhikode's IT hub dream yet to take wing

UL Cyberpark is the first IT park in the Kozhikode region and the first in the country to be developed by a cooperative society. It houses 44 companies with over 1,500 professionals.

UL Cyberpark is the first IT park in the Kozhikode region and the first in the country to be developed by a cooperative society. It houses 44 companies with over 1,500 professionals.   | Photo Credit: K_RAGESH

The Information Technology fraternity in Kozhikode has not received the required attention from the government, while the attrition rate is quite high in the region as professionals scout for jobs in bigger cities

Kozhikode is waking up to become an Information Technology friendly city with two cyberparks, one in the government sector and the other managed by the Uralungal Labour Contract Co-operative Society (ULCCS ), providing world-class infrastructure and attracting global companies.

Several companies have set up shop in the Sahya IT complex of the government-owned Cyberpark Kozhikode, which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in 2017. Sahya has 3-lakh-sft space and may develop Kozhikode into an IT hub. At the same time, the UL Cyberpark near Cyberpark Kozhikode houses 44 companies in 5-lakh-sft space with over 1,500 professionals.

Incidentally, both the cyberparks are strategically located on the Kozhikode Bypass. Tier-2 destinations like Kochi, Mangaluru, Mysuru, and Coimbatore are within 200-km radius. Besides, many believe that Bengaluru, which is the nearest IT city (350 km away from Kozhikode), could act as a hub and spoke model for companies considering expansion in tier-2 cities like Kozhikode.

The government has already expressed its commitment to promote Kozhikode as the next IT destination after Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi. Robust infrastructure, excellent digital connectivity, in-house power distribution, and power back-up with an eco-friendly environment have been put in place to lure companies to start operations.

However, more needs to be done in tune with the changing times. Though the IT sector in the State has grown over the years, its history in Kozhikode appears to be unpleasant when compared with the IT parks in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi.

The Economic Review prepared by the State Planning Board shows that the total employment at Cyberpark Kozhikode is 558 in 23 companies. The total investment was just ₹3.12 crore, and the turnover was ₹16.78 crore.

But Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram, established in 1995, employs over 60,000 people in 410 companies with a total investment of ₹4,979 crore and turnover of ₹14,000 crore. Similarly, Infopark in Kochi employs over 40,000 persons in 392 companies.

In 2010, when the Board of Approval, Ministry of Commerce, formally granted approval for 25 acres of Cyberpark Kozhikode, the State government said the project could generate 70,000 jobs for IT professionals and over a lakh jobs indirectly by 2015.

Many believe that the Kozhikode region is quite different from the other two hubs. A reason is that the city lacks domestic connectivity, especially to destinations such as Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

Another reason is that the government has not given the required focus to the IT fraternity in the region. Also, the single-window clearance is a cause for concern. Hartals and protests are hitting the work culture in Kozhikode unlike Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi.

According to human resource consultants, the attrition rate in Kozhikode is high as professionals scout for jobs in bigger cities and also go abroad. The marketing strategies of IT parks in the city should be upgraded to attract young talents, they say.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 10:50:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/it-hub-dream-yet-to-take-wing/article30897838.ece

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