October 19, 2005
On Saturday, former PM and JD-S leader, H D Deve Gowda, sat through a presentation by Infosys chairman and chief mentor N R Narayana Murthy on the need for an urban governance model based on rural gram sabhas. Gowda told Murthy that the Congress-JD-S coalition government in Karnataka is interested in the development of Bangalore and the IT sector.
The next day, the former PM launched a scathing attack on the Infosys chairman’s urban governance proposal and revealed a recent letter he had written to CM Dharam Singh, alleging land-grabbing by Infosys and other unnamed IT companies.
Infosys has refused to comment on Gowda’s diatribe, stating that their chairman will make a statement after examining all documents.
‘‘What is this urban governance focus Murthy is talking of? The views of high-profile and elite personalities are different from ground reality,’’ Gowda said.
Criticised for hindering infrastructure development in Bangalore, by the IT sector in particular, Gowda lashed out at Infosys: ‘‘Narayana Murthy has been Bangalore International Airport Limited chairman for five years. Why did it take him so long to get it moving? Murthy is a world traveller. He should be able to come up with a plan to decongest Bangalore’s traffic.’’
The October 11 letter spewed more venom on Infosys. Referring to an Infosys request for about 845 acres near Bangalore to set up a new development centre and township, Gowda alleged that norms were modified to allot the land, which was restricted for agriculture use.
‘‘Some of the IT companies, including M/S Infosys Technologies Ltd have already taken substantial land in the name of IT development in different cities of our states. What exactly is the employment generated against the extent of land allotted to these companies. I have no personal aversion to these IT industries, but the way in which some of these companies having influence and being nearer to the corridors of power have acquired valuable lands is a matter to be looked into carefully,’’ the letter states.
Don’t slam IT, says S M Krishna
BANGALORE: Nothing should be done to ‘‘denigrate’’ the IT industry which has brought fame to Karnataka, former CM and Maharashtra Governor S M Krishna said on Tuesday. Reacting Gowda’s stand against allotment of agricultural land to Infosys, Krishna said, ‘‘If there are some shortcomings or doubts over use of land provided to IT companies, they can be clarified in a civilised manner and within four walls.’’ —ENS
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