Jaya government woos World Bank with space on IT highway

By India Abroad News Service   |   Tuesday, 18 November 2003, 08:00 Hrs
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CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government is wooing the World Bank in real earnest and has given it 3.5 acres of land on the IT highway near here to enable the organisation to expand its operations in India.

The government, which has World Bank funded projects worth billions lined up, has given land on the old Mahbalipuram Road near the technology park, popularly known as TIDEL Park.

State Chief Minister J. Jayalalitha, who has sought more loans and aid packages from the organisation, met the visiting World Bank team Monday. The team thanked her for granting land to build the Bank's own premises in Chennai's suburbs.

World Bank Vice-President Fayezul Choudhury, who visited Tamil Nadu this week, said rapid expansion work of its India operations would begin in the next three months.

"We are moving up the value chain. We started here (in Chennai) with basic processing operations but are now doing more and more technically demanding work," he said.

An analysis component has been added since 2001. Now, with a portfolio of $100 billion, a derivative valuation project is being explored.

"This is a complex process involving judgements... we are considering having a small group in India," Choudhury said. This evaluation group is likely to be based in the Chennai office.

State's Finance Minister C. Ponnaiyan told reporters here Monday that the centre has supported the state's demand for an economic restructuring loan from the World Bank.

He said the state had a 21.18 billion road development project, a 7.5 billion urban development project, a 23 billion water supply project for rural areas and a water resource consolidation project for 29 billion, all with World Bank money.

A poverty alleviation project in the state costing 11.56 billion and health system development project worth 6.5 billion is also on.

"Another project with World Bank aid on the anvil is the Chennai Metropolitan Transport Project," the minister said.

"The Tamil Nadu Primary sector Development project is also looking for funds to the World Bank," he said.

With so much at stake, it is little wonder that the Jayalalitha government wants the World Bank to have its biggest India office in Tamil Nadu.

The World Bank, which wants its separate and individual premises in Tamil Nadu, has been working from a rented building here with 80 staff members.

The staff strength has now been increased to 150.

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