IT companies unhappy with Technopark
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IT companies unhappy with Technopark

Wednesday, 21 January 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Four leading IT companies based in Kerala's Technopark, the IT hub near here, have written to the government about their disappointment with the way things have turned out.

In a joint letter to state Industries Minister K. Kunjalikutty Tuesday, the companies said the government needed to do something to infuse confidence in the investors.

Chief of IVL India Ltd Sunil Gupta, who is one of the signatories to the letter, said all they had got in return for their investments were abuses, the threat of being waylaid and a sense of insecurity.

"Things are going from bad to worse. We have nowhere to go with our problems. So we decided to write a letter to the minister," Gupta told IANS.

His was one of the first companies to set up shop at the sprawling 160-acre Technopark, started in 1996. Then, the prospects were bright and companies started coming in. Today, however, the scenario is different with trade unions and politicking marring the future of IT in Kerala.

"The rates at Technopark have shot up from Rs 8 per sq ft in 1996 to 21 today. The rates are much cheaper in the city," said Gupta.

"People feels that we are given a lot of sops but the reality is that we pay the highest tax and have created 6,000 news jobs in 55 companies," he added.

The advent of trade unions in Technopark is also being disliked.

For the first time since 1996, workers have revolted in Torroid, a 100 percent Swedish hardware company. About 40 Torroid employees, helped by the trade union wing of the Communist Party of India-Marxist, are on an indefinite strike.

Though there have been talks between the state's labour minister and the striking workers, nothing has come out of it yet.

Said Shailaja Sreekumar, manager of Torroid: "There was one round of talks with the labour minister and the striking trade union leaders Tuesday night. We just cannot take back the employees who have been sacked on account of indiscipline and the talks failed."

She said the case had been referred to the industrial tribunal and the company was expecting an order banning the strike soon.

Echoing the general discontent, chief of Toonz Animation K. Jayakumar said: "The first sign board that greets anyone in front of Technopark says 'Harmony at Work'. The next sight one sees is protesters shouting abuses from a makeshift marquee erected by the striking trade union."

Jayakumar, whose company employs 400 animators, is one of the signatories to the letter.

"We are really upset that the government has done nothing. On Tuesday, we had visitors from abroad and their first impressions were of a huge roadblock put up to protest the proposed land acquisition to expand Technopark. It is a real sorry state of affairs."

The government is believed to have taken serious note of the issue and is expected to declare Technopark as a strike free one.




Source: IANS
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