Imphal, Mar 2 : The trouble-torn state of Manipur is all to get its first Special Economic Zone. The state has earmarked 27 acres of land and has engaged Accenture to prepare a detailed project report.
“Apart from IT enabled services the SEZ will be completely self-contained with a hotel, health centre, shopping centre, guesthouse as well as serviced apartments so that the employees can work and stay on the premises,’’ said Chief Secretary of Manipur DS Poonia.
Project-in-charge for the state government N Deben says that an industry was the only way to “bring industries into Manipur’’ and take the state forward. “An IT industry is however appropriate. It is not bound by the environment and that much infrastructure is not required. Manipur is already connected and any shortcomings can always be improved upon,’’ said Deben.
When talking of the inefficient power situation (most households in Imphal are pressed to even receive eight hours of electricity daily) Deben says that a separate substation will be set up within the complex guaranteeing 24×7 power supply.
Accenture will also help the state government set up BPOs within the complex.
“According to the Accenture survey, 25 per cent of the BPO industry is already manned by people hailing from the state. We believe that given the right employment opportunities, most Manipuris will want to come back and work in the state,’’ said Deben.
In January, a team of Manipur government officials visited IT firms in Bangalore to woo them. A team from Nasscom will arrive in Imphal next week to look at the project and the feasibility of setting up IT enabled services. “The plan is to attract a big company like an Infosys or a Wipro,’’ added Deben.
“The state government will therefore be investing between Rs 300-500 crores to get the SEZ up and running and sustainable. This is quite a large figure for a state like Manipur,’’ said Nilaya Verma of Accenture heading the team, adding that the SEZ would take at least 2-3 years to become functional.