iconimg Saturday, September 05, 2015

Hillary Victor, Hindustan Times
SAS Nagar, June 06, 2014
Caught on the back foot by the decision of US-based information technology (IT) giant Dell to close its operations in SAS Nagar, the Punjab government attempted a clumsy cover-up for damage control.

In a press release issued on Friday, the state government claimed that Dell was not closing its operation and no employee of the company would be fired. However, Dell officers denied having given any such assurance to the state authorities in this regard.

Highly placed sources in Dell told HT that though a meeting of senior officials of Dell was held with chief parliamentary secretary, industry and commerce, NK Sharma on Friday, they were shocked to learn that the state government has issued such a statement. The facts in the government's release were misrepresented and quoted out of context. Whereas, the fact is, there was no change in plan to shift its operation from SAS Nagar, the sources in Dell added.

Later, Dell too issued an official statement stating that their position was misconstrued in a press release issued by the district public relations officer. "We stand by the statement, which was issued last month, where it was stated that 'Dell has announced the transfer of business of our customer support operations from the SAS Nagar contact centre to our other customer support sites namely Hyderabad, Gurgaon and Bangalore.

Also, normal operations will continue at Dell's SAS Nagar unit till November this year, but employees have to decide on shifting to other centres or quitting by June 11'."

The Punjab government in its highly publicised move have claimed to attract more IT companies during the Punjab progressive summit held in November last year, but closure of Dell was a major setback to deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal's plans of developing SAS Nagar as an IT hub. It has also given an opportunity to the opposition party and other detractors to target the government.

It was also stated in the government's press release that during the discussion with NK Sharma, managers of the company appreciated the Punjab government for providing uninterrupted power supply and other basic infrastructure and facilities. They said the state government was helping the company at every step wherever possible.

Around 1,000 employees to be hit

Dell had entered Punjab in March 2005 with the aim to expand its personal computer market in India and provide employment to nearly 1,500 people. The IT giant's decision to close unit in SAS Nagar is set to affect at least 1,000 employees, who are engaged in customer care and technical support for the US and Indian customers.