March 3, 2007 12:46:55 am
Move over Bangalore and Chennai — the country’s largest and most sophisticated IT park is now in Red Kerala, regularly slammed as an investor’s nightmare, its industry and agriculture in a shambles.
When Chief Minister VS Achuthananthan opened a new 8,50,000-sq-ft building — Tejaswini — at the technopark in Thiruvananthapuram last week, the 3.2-million-sq-ft IT hub overtook all others in sheer size. Tejaswini, by itself is now India’s largest single building devoted to IT.
The latest add-on is projected to create some 6,000 more jobs, complementing about 125 global and national IT companies employing a 15,000-strong workforce, is already in place at the technopark. And there’s more: The technopark will now spread over an additional 600 acres soon. At least three companies are already building their own campuses there, sprawling a total 800,000 sq ft of space.
Make no mistake, it is no kite flying. IT majors are already flocking to the technopark in a big way — all the space in Tejaswini was leased out well before construction, and the client list includes Infosys, Ernst & Young, SunTec, US Technologies, Alliance Cornhill, Office Tiger and many others. The park has no more space left to lease, until the ongoing expansion gets over.
Tejaswini managers are upbeat. “What we have now is just the beginning of things to come. India is bracing for a big second outsourcing wave, and smaller cities like Thiruvananthapuram that can offer the best skills and back it up with a great quality of life, would be the big gainers,” says one.
All this didn’t happen overnight. Technopark, set up in 1991, was one of India’s first technopark before Bangalore or Hyderabad happened. Yet, for many years, it had to go around trying to woo companies, weighed down by Kerala’s once-real notoriety as probably one of the worst investor destinations — until Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) tested the waters with a training centre in the park. It still took Tejaswini seven more years to bring some 5,000 IT employees into its sprawling campus.
Then the sluices lifted on the ITES inflow, and it did not take even a couple of more years for the facility to double the number of people working there. A fallout both of IT majors preferring not to put all their eggs in one big metro hub, and Tejaswini offering quality space that could rival any other.
From that point, it took barely three years for Tejaswini to double the number of people, and it hasn’t looked back since.
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